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Raytown auto shop workers maneuver extreme heat, laughter

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Posted at 6:43 PM, Aug 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-23 19:43:24-04

RAYTOWN, Mo. — One auto repair shop in Raytown is leaning on old and new ways to stay safe in the heat.

When KSHB talked with the shop a year ago, it was known as All American Auto. Now, it goes by Laurel Heights Automotive.

Back then, there was an employee named AJ who invented what they called the “Mister’s Mister.”

AJ is still there. The mister is not.

“I took a hose, and I zip-tied the hose to the back of the fan, turned it on to where it would spray, turned the fan on high, and [if] you get hot, you just go stand in front of it,” Smith said.

The shop has since spent $300 on a new cooling machine.

“It’s got a water reservoir down here that you can fill with ice and water,” Smith said. “And then it’s got coils in here that soak up the ice and water, and then it’s got a fan that will blow over those coils to blow cool air. Somewhat cool air.”

Despite the investment, AJ’s not fully satisfied.

“This was kinda, was supposed to be an upgrade, but it’s not quite as good as the old one,” he said.

Smith says they may go back to using the makeshift mister, but the team has other permanent ways it’s staying cool.

“We’re working from 5 a.m. until 2 p.m. just to kind of adjust due to the heat and get all the heavier work done earlier on in the day and then go home and rest for the next,” said Avery Smith, another mechanic at Laurel Heights Automotive.

In addition to the shift in hours, Smith says he and his crew take several 20-minute breaks throughout the day to avoid heat exhaustion.

“It’s always harder to work when it’s this hot out,” Smith said. “In the cold, it’s not as bad because you’re moving around all day long. In this type of heat, it’s kinda like going out and mowing the yard. It wears you out a lot quicker.”

Besides water and air conditioning, this team says their favorite kind of relief is each other.

“I find myself cracking jokes around here, and lightening up the mood whenever we’re having a rough day or difficult day,” said Jose Marrufo, employee at Laurel Heights Automotive.

As a front office employee, he tries his best to give his outdoor colleagues something to look forward to when they come inside for air.

“They know they’re gonna get cooled down and have a laugh,” Marrufo said.