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Emergency Air Conditioning

KSDK– Hundreds of downtown residents are finally getting some much needed relief from the heat thanks to St. Louis fire and EMS crews.

Cochran Towers, a 12-story building operated by the St. Louis housing authority, has not had air conditioning since Tuesday. Residents like Denise Oguara have been dealing with 95-degree temperatures outside and it’s even hotter inside their apartments. Oguara says it’s 101 degrees in her apartment, and she’s been eating ice to stay cool.

The city’s fire chief says he’s told the housing authority has been working to fix the problem, but, after numerous ambulance calls to the building, Sunday firefighters stepped in with an emergency response. Along with EMS they went door to door performing medical checks on every resident in the building’s 144 apartments. They also distributed ice and bottled water, set up cooling stations both inside and outside and the building, and fire crews hauled in two five-ton emergency air conditioning units.

By 5 p.m. Sunday, 20 residents had been treated for heat related symptoms. One woman had to be transported to the hospital.

“We do have some fans but the problem we have is some of the older people in there, they don’t realize how hot their bodies are and they’re telling us they’re okay. When we do a medical assessment they’re in trouble,” said St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson.

Fire crews will remain at Cochran Tower overnight. Meanwhile the fire department sources said providing this type of emergency response will soon become very difficult with upcoming cuts the city has slated for the department.

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