Firefighters see spike in heat-related calls

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX--When temperatures go up, so do emergency calls for heat-related illness. But this year, Phoenix Fire officials say they are seeing a spike in calls.

"We're only about three weeks into summer, so that's concerning to us," Phoenix Fire Captain Jonathan Jacobs said.

He said on Tuesday, when the temperature reached a high of 112 degrees, there were at least a dozen heat-related called in the Valley.

So far this year, there have been 416 calls, compared with 355 in all of 2011 and 230 in 2010.

"A lot of people that are going out, they're trying to enjoy Arizona, enjoy certain parts of the city of Phoenix, and they're doing it and they're not being prepared, so we're seeing a little more than we normally see," Jacobs said.

Most people opt to stay inside on such hot days, but some found themselves without air conditioning.

Dasietta Mitchell  said her air conditioning stopped working on Monday and she's had to stay with relatives because it is above 90 degrees inside.

"Today it feels like I'm in a casket or an oven, because it's so hot in humid in here," she said.

The 73-year-old, who lives in a studio at the Monta Vista Apartments in South Phoenix, says the extreme heat has exacerbated her asthma.

Luckily, crews were able to fix her air conditioning by Tuesday night.