The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Ice, cold water are hot commodities while power’s out
BY LINDLEY ESTES
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Airgas in Stafford County opened at 7 a.m. Monday with 800 pounds of dry ice.
By 2 p.m. it was sold out.
Ice was a hot commodity all over the region as residents waited for their power to come back on after Friday night’s storm.
“People are trying to keep their refrigerators cool and their food from spoiling,” said Airgas store manager Tim McCutcheon.
He said that on a normal day, 10 people might come in for dry ice. By the time he sold out on Monday, about 40 people had come in—and he was still turning them away.
One of McCutcheon’s customers was from a Longhorn Steakhouse, which was still without power. He said the customer bought about 300 pounds of dry ice to keep the inventory fresh.
McCutcheon said Airgas may not be able to keep up with the demand since its dry ice manufacturing plant in Mechanicsville also lost power.
“I really don’t know if we’ll have any by the end of the week,” he said.
Convenience stores also experienced a run on ice.
The 7–Eleven on Kings Highway in Stafford was the first of the three stores in this area to regain power.
Assistant Manager Hampton Brown said that by the time he got to work at 3 p.m. Sunday, only a quarter of the ice the store started the day with remained. By 8 p.m., it was all gone.
However, the store received a delivery on Monday and while it was selling fast, it didn’t sell out.
“The other 7–Eleven locations are open again, so we’re less busy,” he said.
The Olde Towne Butcher in Fredericksburg was one of the few area businesses that did not lose power.
Store associates said they were lucky, especially since their inventory is mostly meat and dairy.
Owner Lee Russell wanted to share that luck with the community, so on Saturday, he opened up a cooling center in the butcher area of the shop, where the temperatures are colder than the main shop.
“I didn’t want to see people sit in the heat,” Russell said.
Employees brought in a bench from outside and set up free water for anyone who needed it. He said about 10 people have used the center so far.
The King George Fire Department is also giving out drinking water, but in larger quantities. It opened its doors Saturday afternoon for anyone who wanted to fill up containers.
“We’re trying to do what we can to help citizens,” said Emergency Coordinator Capt. Steve Lynd. “The majority of our county have wells and no drinking water, unlike the city. The least we can do is give them drinking water.”
Lynd said that they do not know how many people have come to get water since the staff was out on calls most of the day, but, “if we have one or 1,000, we are here to help.”
The Orange County Rescue Squad is also providing water for drinking, pets and flushing toilets to residents who bring their own containers. Emergency Management Coordinator Craig Johnson estimated Monday that the county had provided 350 gallons so far.
Eleven people have made use of the cooling centers the county has operated since Friday. Only two residents, both with medical conditions, were still in place Monday.
“I’m sure there are some folks today using libraries and different facilities if they are hot and wanting to cool off,” County Administrator Julie Summs said.
Caroline County opened two water-fill sites for those with their own containers Monday as well.
The locations are at the Community Services Center at 17202 Richmond Turnpike, just south of Bowling Green, and on Allen Street in Ladysmith, behind the Caroline Diversified Learning Center.
Fredericksburg offered cooling centers Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but due to declining demand, decided not to open them today said Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator Victor Podbielski.
He also said that his latest estimates from Dominion Virginia indicated that most people in the city would have power by today.
Spotsylvania did not open any cooling shelters. They, however did extend hours at their convenience centers, where people can throw away trash.
Residents can dispose of brush, trees and yard waste at the centers until 7 p.m. today, Thursday and Friday, but no trees or construction waste. The centers will be closed on Wednesday.
Normal hours—from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.—will resume Saturday.
Fredericksburg also expanded trash collecting services. According to a release from the city, residents may place tree debris on the curb for collection at no charge.
However, they should not place large sections of trees or stumps at the curb.
Tree debris will not be collected during normal trash collections, and residents should not place other trash with it.
Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976