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But for workers whose jobs forced them to be outside, there was no choice but to put up with the heat.

“Sometimes the heat bothers,” said Hugo Gonzales, 32. “This is very hot. I drink a lot.”

Mr. Gonzales was part of a 25-man construction crew working the second shift, the hottest shift, from 2 p.m. to midnight at the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge.

“It is not as hard on them as it would be on office workers,” said Bobby Burton, 45, a superintendent for Corman Construction Co. “It’s like winter. They’re used to being out in the cold, so it doesn’t bother.”

A light breeze also helped ease the heat.

“This is OK,” said Mr. Burton, who has been in construction 22 years. “Even when the temperature is 99 degrees.”

D.C. firefighters felt the heat as well.

“When it’s hot out, we respond to more heat-related issues,” spokesman Alan Etter said. “There have not been an overwhelming number of calls. But we know that the temperature is very hot, and we’re certainly prepared.”

He said the department makes an effort to keep firefighters safe and healthy in the heat.

The department often dispatches “rehab resources” when responding to major fires, Mr. Etter said. They cycle firefighters in and out quickly and often have a “canteen unit” that supplies water, sports drinks and food to working firefighters, he said.

“If we don’t keep our own people safe and healthy, the fire doesn’t go out,” he said.