Outdoor workers dealing with cold

WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Department of Public Works crews were busy taking down decorations in Wednesday’s bone-chilling temperatures.

“It’s not bad if you’re dressed for it,” said John Riccardi. “Stay moving.”

He was ready with several layers.

“Thermals, single socks, thermal boots, sweatshirt, heavy jacket, hat, and hood,” said Riccardi.

Joseph Torres works for West Hartford Auto Center and they tow 24 hours a day, even in sub-freezing temperatures. He’s bundled in several layers also.

“One long sleeve thermal, a shirt, sweatshirt, a hoodie, and two pair of socks,” said Torres.

While he is dressed for the cold, he still has to get down on the frozen concrete and slide under cars, touching the bare metal. While the temperatures are heading into the single digits or lower, it’s colder for him. He tries to cover all of his exposed skin because traffic creates a brutal wind chill.

“On the highway when the cars and trucks pass by and in he parking lots there is nothing to block the wind, so the wind blows by and catches you,” said Torres.

A highway ramp should be closed, but it is open; it’s just too cold for crews to be out working. However, there are some people who have to work, no matter what, in the cold indoors. Max Vazquez works with bare hands on metal wrenches in the cold. He fixes blown boilers and furnaces, and doesn’t expect to make it home to sleep tonight.

“I go nonstop,” said Vazquez. “I have six more to go and been going since eight o’clock in the morning, and until we are done we don’t stop.”

No stop even though he can see his breath in many of the basements and businesses that are out of heat. He says it comes with the job, and his wallet is getting warmer, the colder it gets.

“Actually they wait until the last minute,” said Vazquez. “I was slow through the holidays, but now when the cold comes everyone panics and they call and that is when you make the money.”

Alfredo Palafox works on building new apartments on State Street in North Haven. He said he’s more concerned about the temperatures coming Thursday.

“We’re going to wake up tomorrow and if it’s too cold we stay home, if not we’re going to try to come to work because we have to try to finish the project,” said Palafox.

But Bill Hyland doesn’t mind it.

“It’s January,” said Hyland. “We’re in New England; this is how cold it gets.”

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