East Bay cities swelter in triple-digit heat

LIVERMORE, Calif. (KTVU) -- Many residents in the East Bay and Livermore Valley sweltered Thursday as they sought refuge from rising temperatures that hit triple digits in many areas.

Some of the usually crowded shopping and recreation spots were fairly empty, indicating that many residents sought to beat the heat by staying at home and indoors.

The Wave, a popular water park in Dublin, became an oasis as some people came to beat the heat, which is forecast to ease its grip on the Bay Area.

Bryan Spitzer, a self-employed contractor, said he took the day off from work so he could bring his family to the water park.

"I saw it was gonna be 110 (degrees) today and I do construction so I said, 'We need to go to the pool,' Spitzer said.

His son, Zachary, tried all the available water slides and every other water feature, giving his dad a big double thumbs up when he said, "Yep, this was a good idea. Yep. I'm staying cool."

"Yeah, it's hot," said Freddy Washington. "This is my first time here."

The late morning parking lot at San Francisco Premium Outlets, Livermore's huge open-air outlet mall that is usually packed, was nowhere close to full and there were not a lot of shoppers browsing the high-end stores.

At the Cinema Mall, across the freeway, there were several parking spaces available although midday is rarely a popular time for moviegoers.

Temperatures in Livermore are expected to be more seasonal for the weekend with highs in the upper 80s and low 90s.

In the South Bay, Santa Clara County officials have blamed the heat for the deaths of two elderly residents, one of whom lived in a car.

Other western states are also grappling with heat.

The main burn center in Phoenix has seen its emergency department visits double during the heat wave that is scorching the Southwest U.S., including people burning their bare feet on the scalding pavement.

Dr. Kevin Foster, director of the Arizona Burn Center, said this June is the worst the center has seen in 18 years. Most patients arrive with contact burns from touching hot car interiors or walking outside without shoes.

Foster said one child received contact burns after crawling through a doggy door onto the hot pavement.

"Getting up to 120 really makes a difference," Foster said.

The burns are among several hazards resulting from a heat wave that has plagued Arizona, Nevada and California, including deaths, increased wildfire risks and a water shortage in one community.

The heat wave brought a high of 119 degrees (48 degrees Celsius) in Phoenix on Tuesday. Las Vegas topped out at 117, and California has been broiling in triple-digit temps.

The county that is home to Las Vegas has had at least four confirmed heat deaths since Saturday. California has seen at least two heat deaths in the Bay Area, and officials throughout the state are investigating four others.

KTVU reporter Tom Vacar and the Associated Press contributed to this report.