By Tillie Fong | The Modesto Bee
At the grill
Joe Blanton, 38, of Sacramento flipped burgers Monday in the Krush Burger food truck outside the California Public Employees’ Retirement System building Monday.
“It can get to 120 degrees by the grill,” he said.
He normally works the fryer, which is equally hot, but he was subbing in for the usual burger meister, who had the day off.
Blanton, a co-owner of the food truck, said he and the rest of the crew don’t mind the high temperatures.
“We’re all from the Sacramento area, so we’re all used to the heat,” he said.
Still, he said he makes sure that everyone drinks lots of water, and workers can go to the front of the truck and turn on the air conditioner to cool off.
The recent heat wave hasn’t affected business, so the truck goes out every day, usually to two locations. So far, he said, Citrus Heights has been the hottest spot the truck has traveled – 110 degrees on Saturday.
“If it’s short of 110 degrees, then we’ll be out there,” he said. “But if it gets over 120 degrees, it’s not worth someone’s health to sell a burger.”
Brandon Nolan, 22, of Sacramento was covered in a layer of wood dust Monday after he came down from a bucket truck.
A tree trimmer with West Coast Arborists, he was part of a crew that was clearing trees in midtown Sacramento.
In addition to working in the heat, Nolan also has to deal with hot exhaust from the chain saw he uses to lop off branches, which adds another 20 degrees to the ambient temperature.
“I try not to think about it,” he said of his working conditions.
However, the crew has been pushing to get more work done in the morning so they can slow down the pace in the afternoon when it gets hot.
He said he drinks lots of water, and he tries to find a shady spot to rest during his breaks.
Still, he estimates that he’s lost seven pounds in the past week.
“It does take a toll on the body,” he said. “By the end of the day, you’re just drained from the sun.”
Sanciera “Pinki” Royal, 36, of Sacramento soaked paper towels with ice and water and used them to wipe down her body.
“It’s too hot,” she said, using her hands as fans afterward.
Royal worked at a fireworks stand set up at the Vic’s IGA parking lot in South Land Park to support the New Florin Junior Panthers Youth Football and Cheer.
Since electrical appliances, such as fans, are not allowed in the stand for fear of setting off sparks and igniting the fireworks, Royal and her three companions had to find other ways to escape the heat.
“I’ve been forcing myself to drink water,” she said. “For every Pepsi I drink, I’d down a bottle of water.”
By Monday afternoon, people working the stand had gone through three cases of water and two large bags of ice. “I’m looking forward to going home where it’s nice and cool,” Royal said.
Making ice cream
Brad Realmuto, 32, of Sacramento probably has the ultimate cool job: making ice cream at Gunther’s Ice Cream Shop in Curtis Park.
“It’s nice to be able to walk into the freezer any time you want to,” he said. “I’m rarely outside.”
The room where he makes ice cream is air-conditioned at a constant 72 degrees. The freezers where he has to put the ice cream are usually 15 degrees below zero.
In the morning, he spends about an hour in the freezer, rotating the ice cream. The rest of his day, which can last 10 to 14 hours, he pops into the freezer every 10 to 15 minutes to move the ice cream he makes in the manufacturing room. He usually makes about 300 to 400 gallons of ice cream a day.
“It’s extremely busy, but a lot of fun,” he said.
Due to the recent heat wave, Realmuto noticed that customers have gone more for the fruit freezes, which another person usually makes for the store. Normally, the store produces 300 gallons of the fruit freezes a week.
“This week we had to bump that up to 500 gallons when it’s this hot,’ he said, adding that, “Every summer, the freeze sells better than the ice cream.”