SANTA CLARA -- Richard Maxion has heart issues that make it difficult for him to do the things he once did. Seeing his beloved 49ers play at their new stadium is something he wanted to do in the worst way.
Yet, with the game on the line Sunday, Maxion exited Levi's Stadium in a wheelchair as a result of the heat that has caught many fans off guard and forced them to take drastic measures.
"I did everything I could to keep him comfortable," Heather Allen said of Maxion, who trekked to Santa Clara with Allen from Redding. "We even borrowed an umbrella from another fan. We were unprepared for this kind of heat."
Maxion and Allen, along with many others, missed the 49ers hold on for a 22-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The heat simply was too much for them to bear.
San Francisco 49ers fans leave their seats  in the third quarter of the NFL game at Levi’s Stadium, Oct. 5, 2014. The temperature was 90-plus degrees
San Francisco 49ers fans leave their seats in the third quarter of the NFL game at Levi's Stadium, Oct. 5, 2014. The temperature was 90-plus degrees during the game. (Josie Lepe)
The temperature reached 89 degrees -- the high point for the day -- early in the second half. The heat was so intense that numerous sections in the middle of the field on the sun-drenched east side of the stadium were almost empty.
"The heat is ferocious," said San Jose's Janice McNabb. "It was bad. The heat was just penetrating. Oh, my, god. It's bad. They need to do something."
First it was the parking, then the traffic, then the grass, now the sun. Candlestick Park suddenly doesn't seem like such a dump anymore.
Numerous fans interviewed raved about Levi's Stadium for its beauty, amenities and sightlines. Now, if the 49ers could just do something about the sun that beats down on fans in most of the stadium.
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"It's almost like the stadium was designed more for (the 49ers) than the consumer," said Jessica Schmidt of San Jose, who purchased a seat, while her boyfriend Michael Hernandez went the standing-room-only route.
Hernandez, who lives in Santa Clara, said he learned his lesson a week earlier when he sat in a seat on the east side and baked most of the game as the 49ers beat the Eagles.
San Francisco 49ers’ Chris Borland (50) and teammates try to stay cool e at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014.
San Francisco 49ers' Chris Borland (50) and teammates try to stay cool e at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group) (Dan Honda)
"There's no shade anywhere," Hernandez said on his way toward the parking lot midway through the fourth quarter. "I bought a $100 ticket so that I could roam the stadium and stay out of the sun. I went into the Bud Light bar and had a great time."
Schmidt is pregnant. She said that the heat was so intense that she feared for the safety of her and her baby.
"The only reason I was sitting in a seat is because I'm pregnant," Schmidt said. "I drank lots of water and got up and went to meet (Michael)" every so often.
Two first-aid workers on the second floor of Levi's Stadium said they treated "a lot of patients," including some for heat-related issues.
The two workers referred questions to supervisor Gordon Oldham. A call to Oldham went unanswered, and he did not respond to an interview request via voice mail.
McNabb's friend, who declined to be identified, said: "The weather down here is different here than up there. We knew it was going to be hotter" than at Candlestick Park.
But something has to be done to lessen the effects from the heat. McNabb suggested that some overhangs be installed.
If not, McNabb said, fans are going to be keep bolting their seats early in the game for the shade provided by the second deck sitting atop the lower concourse, as they were Sunday and previous games.
49ers spokesman Roger Hacker wrote that reports of many fans leaving their seats or the game altogether were not accurate.
"We obviously have urged our fans to prepare for the heat by staying hydrated and getting into the shade as often as possible," Hacker said. "Just as you would prepare for an afternoon at the beach with water, sunscreen and shade, we have urged our fans to do the same."
He also noted that "high temperatures at NFL games are quite common with teams based in warm-weather climates such as San Diego, Miami, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay. If fans get too hot, "we have an open concourse that allows guests to get into the shade if they choose and still watch the game live rather than on television."
Defensive tackle Ian Williams said it's hot and uncomfortable for football players every game. Therefore, he doesn't notice whether there's much difference at Levi's Stadium.
Linebacker Dan Skuta admits that it gets hot at Levi's Stadium, but it's not as bad as it is other places.
"It's definitely hot," Skuta said. "It's not like Florida hot or anything like that. It's not on that level. It's kind of tough for the fans. I feel bad that they got to cook up there a little bit. But it will cool down in a few weeks, and they'll be fine."
Skuta said he notices the empty seats midway through the game but "as long they're screaming in there in the fourth quarter, I don't care what they're doing (at halftime)."
Maxion had given up by the fourth quarter. The sun's ravaging effects forced him to leave as soon as a wheelchair arrived.
"It's disappointing," Allen said. "He paid upward of $360 for these tickets, and he still wasn't able to enjoy himself."
Santa Clara Fire officials said that they didn't have more than the usual number of emergencies at the stadium Sunday.
Staff writer Sharon Noguchi contributed to this report. Follow Steve Corkra