CHICAGO (CBS) — Plenty of people have outdoor work that has to be canceled or cut back because of the dangerous heat, but believe it or not, some indoor workers have it even harder.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the temperature outside could top 100 degrees on Wednesday, but it’s all relative. Workers who have to spend eight hours in a dry cleaners are standing constantly over machines that pump out not only clean clothes, but also a whole lot of steam.
Moctezuma Adame is an employee of Downtown Cleaners at Van Buren and Peoria streets. The cringe on his face indicated that this isn’t comfortable like the steam room at your local gym.
How does he stay cool?
“Here?” he said. “I don’t know.”
Adame was dripping with sweat as he steamed and ironed the shirts.
“A lot of steam, the machine’s hot – press everything,” he said. “It’s OK, but hot. It’s a little uncomfortable.”
Adame works at the dry cleaners at least eight hours a day.
He has to change his clothes “two times, because I’m wet, and I drink a lot of Gatorade, water for myself. I’m very wet.”
So do the upper 90s feel uncomfortable as you walk outside? You have nothing on the staff of Downtown Cleaners. Owner Steve Kim told CBS 2 just how hot it gets inside.
“If outside it’s 99 today, maybe 130,” he said.
Kim said the machine that cleans men’s shirts creates most of the heat in the back room. Kim showed us that the machine is hot even when it’s not operating.
He also showed us the fans that are supposed to cool the place down – even a little.
“I’ve got big 36-by-36 fans and coolers, but air conditioning doesn’t help because we keep using steam,” he said.
And for those who think it’s too hot? Kim dares any of you to step inside the dry cleaners.
Downtown Cleaners remains open. But another dry cleaners on Devon Avenue had to close for the day because it was just too hot and too unsafe for workers to be inside.