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Warming center opens for those without power

The Sames Auto Arena is accepting people from 6 p.m. to midnight and will reopen at 8 a.m., for those who arrive before midnight, they have the option to stay overnight.
Published: Feb. 15, 2021 at 7:33 PM CST
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - One of the many problems people are facing here in town is power outages.

Tens of thousands of people in Laredo have gone without power and heat throughout the day.

If you are in need of warmth Monday night, one option available to you is to stay at a shelter.

More than 25,000 people are still without power, according to American Electric Power, that’s why the city has opened what they’re calling a warming center at Sames Auto Arena.

If any viewers have friends or family without power or heat, they can direct them to the warming center until midnight.

”We’re trying to hold people over until tomorrow so the sun comes back out and so that people can go back, if they can, to their homes,” said City Manager Robert Eads.

The city announced the warming center Monday afternoon and began welcoming people who don’t have power or heat between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight.

Up to 132 people can stay overnight, although the venue has the capability to expand.

“At 12 midnight, we’ll close the doors so that people can rest in peace, sleep if they want. We have over 130 cots ready, blankets, warm coffee, little snacks for people.”

The cots will be socially distanced, and upon arrival, all people will receive a 15 minute rapid COVID-19 test.

For those who test positive:

“We do have locations, motel and hotel vouchers, that we can provide those individuals so we can get them into centers. If you’re negative, we welcome you inside. If you’re positive for COVID, we’ll get you to another shelter, which is a hotel or motel.”

Eads says the warming center will be available until the extreme cold temperatures pass.

“Today is really just getting them over that hump. Tonight when it’s going to get really cold, don’t be out there. If you don’t have a way to stay warm, come over here to Sames (Auto) Arena. We’ll welcome you with open arms.”

Again, residents have just a few hours left to get their spot inside the warming center.

If you don’t make it by midnight, then it will reopen at 8 a.m.

As for pets, if a family needs shelter for theirs, the Laredo Animal Care Facility will be on site with a mobile pet shelter that can house between twelve and fifteen animals.

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