Heat Pushes City To Open Cooling Centers, ODNR Issues Fire Warning

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Columbus area residents keep cool under spray fountains at Bi-Centennial Park downtown(Photo: Tom Borgerding/WOSU News)
Columbus area residents keep cool under spray fountains at Bi-Centennial Park downtown(Photo: Tom Borgerding/WOSU News)

Columbus city officials today opened fire hydrants and cooling centers to help residents beat the late June heat.

As the temperature headed to triple digits, Tiffany Runbalski of Hilliard and hundreds of other Columbus area residents headed to the spray fountains at Bicentennial Park downtown.

“I came  because of my friends. We take water, sunscreen, stay close to water.  I don’t like to be hot.”  Says Rumbalski.

City officials say the downtown spray park, seven city pools, and 16 air conditioned “cooling centers” are all available to help area residents beat the heat. The cooling centers can be found at the following recreation centers:

  • Barack, 580 Woodrow Ave.
  • Beatty, 247 N. Ohio Ave.
  • Brentnell, 1280 Brentnell
  • Carriage Place, 4900 Sawmill
  • Dodge, 667 Sullivant Ave.
  • Douglas, 1250 Windsor Ave.
  • Far East, 1826 Lattimer Dr.
  • Gillie, 4625 Morse Centre
  • Glenwood, 1925 W. Broad St.
  • Howard, 2505 Cassidy
  • Lazelle Woods, 8140 Sancus
  • Marion Franklin, 2801 Lockbourne
  • Martin Janis, 600 E. 11th Ave.
  • Sullivant Garden, 755 Renick St.
  • Whetstone, 3923 N. High St.
  • Woodward, 5147 Karl Rd.

The city is also expected Friday to reopen fire hydrants on N. Ohio Avenue on the East side, Rhodes Ave. on the Southeast side, Briarwood Ave. in the Linden neighborhood, and at the intersection of Wicklow and South Hampton on the West side.

Meanwhile, officials with the state Department of Natural Resources are warning people about the increased risk of wildfire.

ODNR spokesman Drew Todd says it’s been 12 years since Ohio had such a dry, hot summer.

“Normally Ohio’s fire season is in the early spring before things start to green up, and in the late fall,” Todd said.

Todd says only the Governor’s office has the authority to issue a statewide fire ban. He says that could happen in the coming days if the hot, dry weather continues.

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