POSTED: Friday, June 22, 2012 - 2:00am
UPDATED: Friday, June 22, 2012 - 2:04am
NATIONAL NEWS (CNN) — At least 15 spectators at the New Britain High School graduation passed out from the heat on Wednesday afternoon, according to emergency officials.
At least 6,000 people packed the stadium stands behind the high school on Wednesday afternoon to see loved ones receive their diplomas.
The New Britain Fire Department set up a cooling station for people to get water and stay hydrated, but despite those efforts several people became sick, passed out and were taken to a local hospital.
At 1:40 p.m., the patient load grew so high that the situation was declared "mass casualty" in an attempt to bring in more assistance from the fire department.
A total of 18 ambulances were called to the stadium, according to emergency officials.
The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory Wednesday for the Hartford area, including New Britain and southwest Connecticut, where temperatures in the 90s and high humidity brought heat index values above 100 degrees.
In addition, the record high temperature at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks was tied at 96 degrees on Wednesday afternoon.