After losing power to their home in Killeen, Texas, on Monday night, the family has had to resort to desperate measures for survival.
Angel Garcia and her family lost power in their home in Killeen, Texas, on Monday night. Since then, they've been rationing oxygen tanks for their five-month-old son who was born with premature lungs. Speaking to CNN, Garcia — who is a nurse — revealed that her son, Christopher, was born at 26 weeks and requires supplemental oxygen. The family brought him home just three weeks ago and the mom-of-two has been keeping a close eye on him ever since they lost power. "We have an oxygen machine that converts room air, but since we've had no power, we've had to use our cylinders," Garcia explained on Wednesday evening.
For one year my miracle micro-premie daughter was on oxygen at home. My heart goes out to this Texas family https://t.co/2EWMPd5s4z— Mark A. Olson (@MarkOlsonUSA) February 18, 2021
"Those went out and they only deliver those once a month. We're not able to plug in his pulse oximeter to check on his oxygen. We're keeping a constant eye on him to see how he's doing," she added. Garcia and her husband made a makeshift heater out of a pot raised up on bricks above some candles to keep themselves and their two children warm in their home amid the deadly winter weather. When they saw that they were running out of wood, they resorted to burning their 3-year-old daughter’s baby blocks in the fireplace.
Running out of water, searching for food: These are the stories of the Texas storm https://t.co/3HFB1kZE76— CTV News (@CTVNews) February 19, 2021
"A lot of people don't know the severity of what's going on. People are tearing down their fences to burn," Garcia said in between tears. "We started burning my daughter's little wooden blocks because it was just too cold." She says she hopes that people realize how bad the situation is in Texas right now, especially since it's a state where people are not accustomed to this type of cold weather. "Not everyone has gas but we waited in line about an hour and finally we were able to get some gas," she said.
Praying for the millions of families in Texas without power and struggling to stay warm during this severe winter storm. Please stay safe and warm.https://t.co/MXWMlFD5Fe— Rep. Veronica Escobar (@RepEscobar) February 16, 2021
"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," Garcia added. Many families across Texas are currently facing health concerns due to the blackouts. Helen Reed, a pediatric emergency room nurse, hasn't had power at her home in Robstown since Sunday night. This has made caring for her 91-year-old mother with dementia and her 23-year-old terminally ill daughter — who has Lennox Gastaut Syndrome in addition to 19 other diagnoses — at home extremely difficult.
Millions of Texas residents are still without electricity after a dangerous winter storm swept across the state. More than 700 people are staying at a shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, where Red Crossers are helping. pic.twitter.com/jbtaq1uUWI— American Red Cross (@RedCross) February 17, 2021
While her mother — who hasn't had a warm meal in days — doesn't quite understand the situation, Reed has had to plug and unplug her daughter's feeding pump into a generator to get it to work. "Trying to keep the generator going has been nerve-wracking," she said. "Trying to keep the two of them from falling (in the dark), trying to manage my (daughter's) seizures, I can't even tell you, it's just compounded stress." The generator requires a top-up of gasoline every two hours and with gas in short supply, Reed said that she's been making do with a tank of gas her farmer neighbor gave her. They've been using it sparingly and to fuel a small space heater, she said.
Tim Boyd, the former mayor of Colorado City, Texas, said on Facebook that families had to "sink or swim" in surviving the winter storm. https://t.co/twBaX7JzsG— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 18, 2021
"The heater worked well, only sometimes crashing the generator," Reed revealed. "We wore all of everything we own, layers of South Texas beach clothing, not designed for snow and ice. I don't feel like we had any kind of preparation for this. Because suddenly, there's no water, the stores are sold out and now the city is saying there's no water and it's like, what do you mean there's no water? When I went to the store, it's exactly like the first week of quarantine."
Prayers going out to millions of Texans bracing this storm. Ice storm to move through the state today as families continue to go without power and water. @GregAbbott_TX blames the— Blair Ledet (@BeingBlairLedet) February 17, 2021
Electric Reliability Council of Texas for the lack of preparation. https://t.co/WvLQalmPUg
Her daughter stopped breathing twice on Tuesday evening and although Reed was expecting her to have the type of seizures she did with her medical condition, to see her have them in the environment they're living in was unbearable for her. "You want your child to be in as comfortable of a setting as possible and not in a situation where there is no light, it was cold, it was horrifying, I can't even convey how stressful it was," she said. "And that was also the night where the roads were iced over, I don't even know if we could have gotten an ambulance out here."