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As cold persists, warmth available locally

MARTINS FERRY — As residents of Texas continue to deal with freezing temperatures and a lack of heat because of rolling blackouts and power outages, local officials are ready to keep people warm in emergency situations.

In Martins Ferry, Mayor John Davies is reminding residents the Liberty Fire Station, 500 Center St., is available as a warming station if someone loses power or heat.

“With the potential ice storm, if there is a power outage the Liberty Fire Station is set up to be a warming station,” Davies said recently on social media.

He noted last week that no one has had to use the station yet, but it will still be available whenever needed. To get in contact with the station, he said people should call the city police dispatcher at 740-633-2121, who can then contact members of the fire department to open the door to the warming center.

He said the city is in the process of getting a new generator for the station, along with the city EMS building. However, he noted the station is situated so close to a portion of the power grid that it has never lost power.

In Texas, the winter weather has been blamed for the deaths of several people. The rolling blackouts were done by some utility companies to take the pressure off of power systems strained by increased use. However, most of the outages in Texas and across the South have been weather-related.

There have also been reports of power plants across the state not being equipped to handle the freezing temperatures that have persisted for the last couple weeks.

Texans have also gone without water because of freezing pipes and waterlines breaking. Boil orders have been issued for many; however, because people are without power they have no way of boiling their water.

This has left people depending on donated water. According to the Associated Press, some people are experiencing price gouging when trying to buy water, food and even rent hotel rooms to get out of the cold.

There may soon be an end to the misery, as temperatures across Texas are expected to increase in the coming days.

In Belmont County, the emergency management agency annually gathers a list of places where people can go if they experience a power outage. These include local churches, fire stations, social halls and community rooms. Though the Liberty Fire Station is not on the county’s list, the VFD is still offering the service. The county lists Grace Presbyterian Church as a warming center in the city.

Temperatures across the Ohio Valley are forecasted to fluctuate between freezing and the mid-40s for the next several days, according to the National Weather Service.

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