"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.
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.
**Why did this happen?** Texas leaders failed to heed warnings that left state's power grid vulnerable to winter extremes, experts say. An absolute must-read from @McGeeReports @erinmdouglas23 @jsmccullou https://t.co/Q9bPXJgiei #txlege— Evan Smith (@evanasmith) February 18, 2021
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.
we’re walking in the snow and ice with our shoes drenched in water trying to call for help but no one in the main office would answer. Our apartment is the same temperature as it is outside (which is snowing and freezing). We haven’t had electricity for a day and a half and(2/3)— Jesus Cortez (@xbrxham) February 17, 2021
our water was cut. Luckily a friend lent us a room in his apartment and we are now able to sleep warm in his place. Please stay safe y’all! This storm ain’t no joke!— Jesus Cortez (@xbrxham) February 17, 2021
"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."
It is 43 degrees inside my apartment and it’s looking like I might not have power until tomorrow. I’m losing about a degree every hour or two inside. Luckily I have an all-season tent that (kinda) fits in my living room where I plan to sleep so this is where we’re at #TexasFreeze pic.twitter.com/4xEbHNQB6b— Sarah Asch 🦇 (@sarahradinasch) February 15, 2021
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."
I wrote about how as a teenager I used to argue that Texas should secede from the Union because we had our own, mighty power grid— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) February 18, 2021
Now millions of Texans are sitting in the dark and cold, thanks to a cascade of systemic failures. #TexasFreeze https://t.co/hxp559hBGo
"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."
Hey @tedcruz , can I stay at your place while your traveling to Cancun? Because like millions of your constituents, I'm melting snow TO BE ABLE TO USE A TOILET IN MY HOUSE DURING THE WORST WINTER STORM IN TEXAS HISTORY.#TedCruz #TexasFreeze pic.twitter.com/D6cRQf419t— Mary Dubya (@bubble_gurl) February 18, 2021
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.
Patients at St. David’s South Medical Center in Austin prepare to transport patients to nearby hospitals after reporting loss of water pressure, heat and other critical infrastructure. #Austin #Texas #Atx #TexasFreeze @statesman pic.twitter.com/lWzqqlbFbl— Brontë Wittpenn (@BronteWittpenn) February 18, 2021
Texas mutual aid funds you can donate to right now on Venmo and help someone live through this week:— kelsey mckinney (@mckinneykelsey) February 16, 2021
Dallas: @ feedthepeopledallas
Houston: @ mutualaidhou
Austin: @ austinmutualaidhotels