About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy
© GOOD Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Texans share heartbreaking stories of trying to keep warm: 'People are tearing down fences to burn'

"A lot of people don't know the severity of what's going on. We started burning my daughter's little wooden blocks because it was just too cold," a Killeen resident said in tears.

Texans share heartbreaking stories of trying to keep warm: 'People are tearing down fences to burn'
Cover Image Source: People wait in line for Fiesta Mart to open after the store lost electricity in Austin, Texas on February 17, 2021. (Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)

Millions of Texas residents are currently caught in a fight for survival amid winter storms and freezing temperatures. Countless families in the state are struggling to stay warm and dry without power even as burst pipes flood their homes. As of Wednesday, Timothy Wilsey, his wife, Nicole, and their 7-year-old son had gone over 72 hours without power. Speaking to CNN, Wilsey revealed that they've been using their cars for warmth and to charge battery packs and phones which he said were "their only lines of communication." Wilsey said the family, who reside in Euless, Texas, has been restricting their phone usage to quickly look at the news and search for restaurants that may be open and serving food.



They mostly lay "under covers in bed," in their apartment—which is only heated by candles—and "are keeping busy by going old school and reading books and playing board games," Wilsey added. Meanwhile, in Portland, Texas, Brianna Blake and her husband resorted to using household items, including artwork and fencing, as firewood to keep their children warm as they dealt with 36 hours of no heat in their home. "I just started kind of grabbing my canvasses off the wall, and breaking them and throwing them into the fire," she said.



Kimberly Hampton and her family of five in Irving, Texas, initially thought that they would be able to ride out the power outages from their home. However, they soon found that no amount of blankets could keep them warm. The home's thermostat quickly fell to 36 degrees Fahrenheit after the family lost power at 3:30 a.m. Monday. Although Hampton was able to get some wood from Home Depot to start a fire and melt frozen breast milk in room temperature water for her 7-month-old baby and 3-year-old twins, things got worse overnight. "We're out of firewood and there is none available anywhere close by," she said Tuesday.





"My husband is going to have to go buy some formula because all my frozen milk is going bad. My other kids are miserable and don't understand why it's cold or why they can't watch TV or have a warm meal," Hampton added. She revealed that the family has "closed off our bedrooms and stuffed towels in the spaces of the doors and used blankets to cover all our windows the best we can," to help with the cold. "We have a generator, but ran out of gas for it extremely quick, so gas stations are open nearby. The kids are all bundled up with three layers of clothes, jackets, and shoes. And we have all been basically laying on top of each other sharing body heat."



Angel Garcia and her family are living their worst nightmare in Killeen, Texas, as they've had to ration oxygen tanks for their 5-month-old son, who was born with premature lungs. The family lost power to their home Monday night and Garcia, who is a nurse, has been keeping a close eye on her son. They had to burn their 3-year-old daughter's baby blocks in the fireplace when they ran out of wood, she said in between tears. "A lot of people don't know the severity of what's going on. People are tearing down their fences to burn," Garcia said. "We started burning my daughter's little wooden blocks because it was just too cold."



"Not everyone has gas, but we waited in line about an hour and finally we were able to get some gas," Garcia added. "There's pretty much nowhere to go. Everyone in Texas is in the same boat. If they have electricity, there's no water. If they have water, there's no electricity." Meanwhile, some families are dealing with a lack of food and water. Philip Shelley, a Fort Worth, Texas, resident revealed that he is trying to keep his pregnant wife, Amber, and his 11-month-old daughter, Ava, warm by keeping them bundled. "(Ava) is down to half a can of formula," Philip said. "Stores are out if not extremely low on food. Most of our food in the refrigerator is spoiled. Freezer food is close to thawed but we have no way to heat it up."



In Austin, Smita Pande, her husband, and their two friends visiting from New York took refuge with another friend because they had no power at their home. However, things soon took a turn for the worse at the friend's home as well when a water main break nearby knocked out the water. "We didn't anticipate the water to be shut off, but once it did, we assumed a 'worst-case scenario' type of thing and just grabbed snow off the balcony and put into kettles and pots to use for drinking water in case we don't get water back anytime soon," Pande said. "If the power outage is any indication of how long that'll be, then we are going to be boiling snow for a while." She estimates that they have enough food and water to last until Thursday afternoon.




More Stories on Scoop