Since the heat alert was issued two Fridays ago, EMSA reports Oklahoma City has had at least 87 patients for heat-related illnesses. One of those patients was a local food truck owner.
Gannon Mendez of The Saucee Sicilian works on the truck almost every day of the week.
“We’re on here at least 9 hours a day, if not 12 in some circumstances,” he said.
Last week, the heat was too much for his body to handle. Gannon said he had rapid heartbeat and was fatigued and dehydrated.
“I wasn’t paying attention to my body," he said.
It led to his hospitalization. Gannon said he had a heat stroke and severe dehydration with a core body temperature of 104 degrees.
The Saucee Sicilian truck is equipped with two air conditioning units, but it’s overpowered by the wood-fired oven.
“The oven, when it is going full-blast, we’re at 850 to 900 degrees, and you have at least 350 degrees on you the whole time,” Gannon said.
The truck is often 130 degrees or higher in the summer.
Gannon is now back at work. Since his hospitalization, he stocked the food truck with pediatric electrolytes. He is also making sure all of his employees are staying hydrated in the heat to prevent any future incidents.
“If I can make an electrolyte pizza, I think I’d be onto something," Gannon joked.