Lynchburg tries to keep cool during heat wave

Residents counter the heat with cooling shelters, pools

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Temperatures in Lynchburg stayed in the mid-90s throughout Friday, so residents had to think of ways to stay safe from the sun.

The Salvation Army of Greater Lynchburg helped out by turning its compound into a cooling shelter. The organization kept the air conditioning on inside the building and allowed those who stopped in to enjoy free bottled water kept on ice.

“I had to find somewhere to go, somewhere to get out of the heat,” said Lynchburg resident Jessie Huff, who spent part of the afternoon in the cooling shelter. “At least I'm not out there walking in that heat, toting all of my bags, right now.”

“The heat will wear you down and sometimes you don’t know how hot you are,” added Lt. Kathy Paladino with the Salvation Army of Greater Lynchburg. "We're open. If you don't have air in your home, please come and cool off with us."

Some summer camps decided to have their children cool off across the street from the Salvation Army at the Miller Park pool. Camp counselor Sylvia Key said she wanted to allow her kids to exert their energy while staying cool at the same time.

“Kids get very bored and they want to stay cool, and this is the best way," Key said. "They love this. It’s the best part of camp.”

Meanwhile, the Central Virginia Alliance for Community Living had a handful of air conditioning units and fans available for elderly residents whose income is near the poverty line. After this week's heat wave inspired people to find whatever they could to keep cool, the alliance gave out its last A/C unit on Friday.

“There are a lot of people out there who are living in homes and apartments that are just too hot to be in,” said Betty Brickhouse, of the Central Virginia Alliance for Community Living.

The heat also pushed back Saturday's Steve Miller Band concert at Riverfront Park by a few hours.

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