Unhoused in Phoenix’s perilous heat: ‘If I don’t keep cool, I’ll die’
Phoenix is the US’s deadliest city for heat fatalities while its urban sprawl makes it a concrete heat island
It was mid afternoon when first responders found David Spell slumped and unresponsive under a bus shelter. The temperature outside was nearing 110F (43C) – the hottest day of the year so far in Phoenix, and 50-year-old Spell was disorientated, dizzy and dehydrated.
Spell had felt hot and weary during his shift at a car auction after driving an old Buick without air conditioning, but couldn’t take a break. After finishing work he bought three cans of spiked blue razz, an 8% alcopop, and sat on the bus shelter bench to drink under the partial shade. He remembers eating some canned mackerel and opening the third alcopop, and then nothing until being roused by the EMTs. He had passed out with heat exhaustion.Continue reading...