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Carpe Diem, Baby!: North Ave. Beach Shut Down Due to Heat

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 31, 2011 1:00PM

We in Chicago have a reputation for going out and enjoying the six weeks of summer we get around here for all it's worth. While yesterday was picture perfect weather for Memorial Day, no one could have predicted that North Avenue Beach would have been shut down by police yesterday after eight people were stricken with heat-related illness.

The proverbial shit got heavy round 5:30 p.m. when paramedics were called to be beach to treat people who were complaining of heat-related illness and had a hard time removing them from the beach because it was so crowded. Four people were taken to local hospitals, including an 18-year-old man who was unresponsive. All four who were taken to hospitals were under the age of 21.

Police were then called in to clear the beach, declaring the shutdown a matter of public safety, while firefighters turned their hoses on the crowd to cover the largely confused beachgoers in mist.

The irony here is that one couldn't have asked for more perfect weather for Memorial Day. We assumed when the news broke last night that North Ave. Beach was closed that there was something more to it, and there still might be as we learn more details. But the conditions wound up being ideal for this sort of thing to happen. Visitors to the beach and a bartender at Castaways told the Sun-Times that they've never seen the beach as crowded as it was yesterday. a crowd that big can make even a picture perect day turn into something unintended.