The Salvation Army in Denton opened its cooling station Tuesday, continuing an annual service the organization provides to residents seeking refuge from the summer heat.
A total of 15 cooling stations across North Texas were opened, including the Denton location at 1508 E. McKinney St.
Salvation Army officials said they want to provide protection and relief from the summer heat for the homeless, people without air conditioning and those with outdoor jobs.
People packed the Denton location Wednesday afternoon to stay cool as temperatures began to creep toward the mid-90s. Officials say the cooling stations are always full of residents seeking shade, water and cool air. The cooling stations provide water and an air-conditioned environment that’s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday during the summer months after temperatures rise above 95 degrees.
Resident Hector Ramirez cooled off at the Salvation Army during his lunch break on Tuesday. The 43-year-old construction worker said he works long hours in the heat.
“It’s dangerous,” he said. “I know plenty of guys who’ve passed out from the heat and dehydration. Having a place to cool down and drink some water makes me feel safer.”
Patrick Patey, Salvation Army public affairs manager, said people should drink plenty of water throughout the day when it’s excessively hot.
In 2011, 37 people died in North Texas from heat-related causes, according to information provided by the Salvation Army.
June, July and August are the peak months for heat-related deaths, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The weather service also reported that last summer was the third hottest summer in U.S. history.
If temperatures top the 100-degree mark, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church will open the Monsignor King Emergency Outreach Center at 2255 N. Bonnie Brae St., said Tim Thompson, pastor.
The center provides a temporary refuge for the homeless during dangerous weather conditions and also opens when temperatures drop to 29 degrees or below.
Temperatures in Denton are predicted to stay around the mid-90s with the lows in the 70s through Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service’s seven-day forecast.
For a list of other Salvation Army cooling stations in North Texas, visit www.salvationarmydfw.org or call 940-566-3800.
For more information or questions about Immaculate Conception’s outreach center, call 940-565-1770.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.