Triple-digit heat returned to the Toledo area for the second straight summer Thursday, with high-temperature records set in several cities.
According to the reading taken at The Blade building downtown, the temperature reached a record high of 104 degrees at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Toledo's reading at Toledo Express Airport was 103 degrees.
Both beat the previous local record of 101 for June 28 -- set in 1934 -- and unofficial record highs also were set in Defiance and Lima, Ohio, according to the National Weather Service.
In 1934, the old record would have been reported in downtown Toledo because the airport -- where National Weather Service temperatures are collected now -- was not in existence at that time.
Toledo's last triple-digit day was July 21, 2011, when the temperature at Toledo Express reached 102. Before that, Toledo hadn't topped 100 since 1995.
Defiance's high Thursday was 107; Lima reached 105.
Other 100-plus highs riding a mass of hot air into the Great Lakes region from the Great Plains were reported in Adrian, Monroe, Findlay, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton. Official climate records are not kept for Adrian, Monroe, or Findlay.
The scorching heat boosted heat-related emergency room traffic, sent some seniors to "cooling centers," and prompted Toledo officials to open a handful of fire hydrants with a spray nozzle to help neighborhood children cool off.
Sarah Bednarski, a spokesman for Mercy Health Partners, said Mercy St. Anne Hospital treated one case of hyperthermia -- a dangerous increase in body temperature -- and a few cases of shortness of breath.
The University of Toledo Medical Center, formerly the Medical College of Ohio, said several heat patients collapsed upon arrival at the facility, and dehydration and heat-exhaustion cases overall were higher than normal.
Four local senior centers that offer emergency cooling centers -- air-conditioned places for the elderly to cool down -- reported an increase in traffic.
"Our normal activities were increased today because of the heat," said Paula Benton, director of the James "Wes" Hancock Oregon Senior Center.
Even earlier in the day, when temperatures reached the mid 80s by late morning, the heat complicated matters for Toledo firefighters battling a stubborn, smoky blaze that started in a vacant house on Utah Street and spread to two neighboring empty homes. No injuries were reported.
Firefighters worked in short shifts, spending about 90 minutes at a time before colleagues spelled them while others gulped cups of water, occasionally pouring it on their heads to try to stay cool.
"The bottom line is to stay hydrated and stay as cool as you can," said Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld, a fire department spokesman. "In extreme heat like this, you have to pace yourself, especially working with fire gear on."
While designed to protect firefighters from the extreme heat of fire, turnout gear also retains heat and weighs anywhere from 60 to 70 pounds.
Even when air temperatures are in the 80s, Lieutenant Hertzfeld said, "it still gets really hot. In this stuff, in the 90s and above, it's brutal."
John Mayers, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Cleveland, said a weak cool front working its way across the region overnight was expected to moderate the heat just a bit, with Toledo-area highs forecast in the middle to upper 90s today and Saturday.
But he said "the odds are good" for more 100-degree readings in northwest Ohio as summer progresses.
"We've had this persistent pattern. Really the heat's been building over the midsection of the country," Mr. Mayers said.
Staff writers Taylor Dungjen and Casey Sumner contributed to this report.
Contact David Patch at: email@example.com or 419-724-6094.