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Work goes on, despite the heat
Working outside can be brutal when the temperature soars. At left, Andy Webb with Taylor Enterprises does landscaping work in front of the Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center and Museum recently, despite temperatures in the upper 90s — or higher. (Bulletin photos by Ashley Jackson)
The notion of “hot jobs” has taken on new meaning this week.
No, they are not the most popular jobs — quite the contrary. They are the jobs that have to get done — outside — even when rising temperatures keep most people inside.
Just ask the employees of Omega Contracting LLC, who worked to replace a roof recently on the Virginia Division of Community Corrections Office building on Bridge Street. The job included removing old shingles.
“I’ve never roofed this hot,” said Angel Lastra, project manager with Omega Contracting.
With temperatures hovering around 100 degrees and the heat index several degrees higher, all the employees took breaks every few hours to drink cold water and eat cold melons and pineapple, Lastra said. They also used leaf blowers on themselves to cool off, he said.
Crews began working at 5 a.m. to try to beat the mid-day heat and stayed until early afternoon.
“We do this (roofing) for a living, and it’s rough” when it gets hot, Lastra said.
Taylor Enterprises did landscaping work in front of the Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center and Museum recently when temperatures were in the triple digits.
Andy Webb with Taylor Enterprises said he and the crew arrived at the site at 6:30 a.m. and did not leave until about 5 p.m.
To find relief on such a long day, crew members took breaks in the shade, Webb said.
Unfortunately, Webb has to work in hot temperatures a lot with his job, so he has gotten pretty used to it, he said.
Jeremy Taylor with Taylor Enterprises said the heat was rough on him because “you get tired fast” when temperatures are so high. Taylor added that he stood it as well as he could.
Crews with Gary Smith Construction Inc. were doing renovation work on Depot Street. Like the others, they started working at 6 a.m. to beat the heat and stopped at noon due to the rising temperatures, according to Joel Hernandez with Gary Smith Construction Inc.
When Hernandez heard how hot it was going to be on one recent day, it made “me feel sick a little bit” just thinking about working in the heat, he said.
Hernandez is accustomed to working in such conditions, but there have been times recently when the heat became unbearable, he said.
Ken Kostura, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s office in Blacksburg, said the normal high for the Danville area for this time of the year is 88 degrees. “It’s a little early” to be having 100-degree temperatures, he said.
On these hot days, it is important to drink plenty of fluids, wear light-colored clothing and check on pets and the elderly, Kostura said. There is a possibility of heat exhaustion if someone works too long outside in the hot sun, he added.