Heat Wave Hits Northeast With Record-Breaking Temperatures

As Americans struggle to stay cool, power companies brace for demand.

ByABC News
July 6, 2010, 6:11 PM

July 6, 2010— -- Across the country today, blistering, record-breaking temperatures left Americans struggling to keep cool.

From Boston to Louisville, Kentucky and Richmond, Virginia, to Washington, the temperatures were chokingly hot.

In New York's 103-degree heat, more than a dozen firefighters had to be rushed to the hospital after putting out a fire. Their heavy unfiroms proved too much to bear in the heat.

"This is the worst condition to fight fires in," one FDNY firefighter said.

In Washington, D.C., where thermometers popped at 100 degrees, even machines were forced to slow down. Officials cut the speed of commuter trains because the metal rail tracks got so hot, they were in danger of bending.

In Philadelphia, the heat was blamed for the death of an elderly woman who was found inside her home with the windows open in a tragically failed attempt to stay cool.

Of all the people working in the heat today, Philadelphian Saheed Dillard might have had it the worst. He pours searing asphalt for a living, today driving his steamroller in scorching 104-degree temperatures.

"I am riding basically on an oven," Dillard said.

To ensure that the 275-degree asphalt doesn't cool too quickly, the work always has to be done when it's hot out, but today was extreme. Every half hour, Dillard got a 10-minute break to cool down and drink water. He usually drinks nearly four gallons of water a day.

"It feels like you are sitting on a grill, and I am the hamburger or the hotdog," he said.

In Richmond, Virginia, temperatures surged into the triple digits for the second day in a row.