This week's oppressive heat has led to the deaths of two women in the city, authorities said yesterday.
Deborah Wright Jean-Louis, 65, was found dead in her home on Malvern Avenue near 58th Street, in Wynnefield, shortly before 2 a.m. yesterday, said Jeff Moran, spokesman for the Medical Examiner's Office.
Genevieve Chmielewski, 82, was found dead in her home on Gaul Street above Ann, in Port Richmond, at 12:45 p.m. Monday, Moran said.
Air conditioning was not in use in either home, and windows were shut in Jean-Louis' home, Moran said.
Yesterday marked the end of the year's first heat wave in Philadelphia. With a heat index of 103, temperatures topped at 98 at Northeast Philadelphia Airport, marking the hottest day so far.
Power outages were reported across the city, leaving air conditioning useless for many.
"We can't use our stoves," said Glenda Abney, standing on the porch of her home on Gordon Street near 29th, in Strawberry Mansion. "We're stuck. We have nothing."
Abney said the power in her house went out around 1:45 p.m. and was still out hours later.
About 3:30 p.m., traffic lights in the neighborhood were out, and nobody was directing traffic.
On the other side of Gordon Street, outside Strawberry Square mall, Mike Brown, 38, collapsed from the heat about the time the power went out, police said. The Fire Department arrived and gave sugar and orange juice to Brown, who has diabetes. Medics took him to a hospital.
Meanwhile, electric demand peaked yesterday around 8,800 megawatts, said Cameron Kline, spokesman for Peco Energy Co. That was the highest mark this year - but not high enough to break the record of 8,932 megawatts set Aug. 2, 2006.
"Right now the system is backing down because of the hard work it's been doing, so you're going to see something like that," Kline said of the power outages.
In North Philadelphia, residents found creative ways to fight the heat.
Kids played in blow-up swimming pools in front of their houses and cooled off with fire hydrants. According to the Water Department, an open fire hydrant wastes 1,000 gallons of water per minute. Water usage at a fire hydrant for one hour is as much as one household uses in a year, the department said.
In the noonday sun yesterday at 4th Street and Allegheny Avenue, in West Kensington, Clemente Soto, 59, walked along the sidewalk - with a 3-month-old goat named Pito.
Feeding Pito as if it was a baby, Soto poured half of his water into a baby bottle for the animal. Soto drank before sharing water and green grapes with Pito.
Soto, a father of six, said Pito belongs to a neighbor and is cared for by several folks.
"The heat is no problem for me," said Soto, a native of the Dominican Republic. "I like the heat."
An excessive-heat warning issued by the National Weather Service for the Philly area was canceled as of 8 o'clock last night as a storm rolled through the Philadelphia area, taking the worst of the heat with it.