Community shows compassion for homeless during South Bay heat wave

At the peak of Thursday’s hot weather, 95 degrees in San Jose, many families found relief at the fountains at Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park.

“My face is melting,” said Brandon Vilchis of San Jose. “It’s too hot. You couldn't get an ice cube out of the fridge without it melting before it got to your cup. It's too hot. Wherever you went to, you couldn't beat it. The shade wasn't helping.”

Vilchis brought his four-year-old son, out of concern he could get overheated.

In Fremont, for the first time this year, police officers were armed with ice chests full of water to hand out. Their goal was to keep people hydrated and their body core at a healthy temperature.

“When we encounter people either for calls of service or if we were to see someone in distress,” said Lt. Mark Dang of Fremont Police. “We would have the water available to help them out.”

On alert, after word the body temperatures of two elderly people in San Jose were too high. They died of hyperthermia this week. One of them, an 87 year old woman who died while gardening and another person, a 72 year old homeless man who died in his car.

“There have been two deaths already,” said Homeless Advocate Sachin Radhakrishnan. “I think that's one too many people. We saw yesterday someone was looking in the trash for water.”

At St. James Park in downtown San Jose, the "In their Shoes” homeless advocacy nonprofit was among the group scrambling to help the homeless population. They not only checked on those in need but offered water, watermelon, snacks, and pop-up tents.

“More than just giving them water I think we are providing them a sense of community,” said Radhakrishnan.

“It was cold one minute then just switched to being just hot,” said William Batist of San Jose. “It's just crazy. I just want to stay hydrated."

Batist was among those who received water, grateful for the help during a heatwave that's been unrelenting.

“There’s restaurants you can go inside hey can I get a glass, maybe they will say yes, maybe they will say no,” said Batist. “We are all in this together and it's a blessing to see them do it.”

Santa Clara County officials announced people can bring their pets to seven county libraries to seek shelter from the heat. Cooling centers at community centers and libraries will also be open Friday.