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Mercury hits 96, ties previous record

EMS crews busy on scorching day

Boston's Emergency Medical Services operated in overdrive yesterday, responding to scores of heat-related calls as sizzling, record-tying temperatures baked the region.

By 6 p.m., EMS spokeswoman Dianne Cavaleri said, crews had responded to at least 76 heat-related calls, with several people taken to hospitals. A Boston Medical Center spokesman said at least three people had been admitted to that facility for heat-related illnesses.

"We have people working multiple shifts," Cavaleri said, noting that he was concerned about workers out in the field. "It's a chore just to keep them hydrated."

On a typical 24-hour shift, the EMS responds to about 350 calls, Cavaleri said, but with six hours left in the day, crews had already gone out on 373.

The National Weather Service in Taunton said the mercury hit 96 degrees at 2:56 p.m. at Logan International Airport, tying the previous record set in 1948.

Meteorologist Kim Buttrick blamed two weather systems for the oppressive conditions, with the region locked in a vise grip between them.

"We'll still have the heat with us and the humidity for a time before a cold front moves through" this afternoon, Buttrick said.

High temperatures today are expected to be around 90, but will feel slightly hotter with the humidity, she added.

Despite yesterday's scorching heat, officials said, thousands lined Roxbury and Dorchester streets for the annual Caribbean Parade and Festival, which continued into the night at Franklin Park.

Captain Robert Haley, an emergency medical technician at the scene, said the heat was an "extreme problem" throughout the festival. Boston EMS had a medical tent near Blue Hill Avenue and Columbia Road, but several people at the festival suffered from heat-related illnesses, Haley said.

Emergency crews also responded to a handful of stabbings along Blue Hill Avenue shortly after the parade, officials said. None of the stabbings appeared to be life-threatening, said police Deputy Superintendent Paul Fitzgerald, who added that the investigation into the attacks was just beginning.

Globe correspondents Steven H. Bagley, John M. Guilfoil, Adam Sell, and Richard Thompson contributed to this report.

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