'It takes a community to protect the village' City of Killeen opens warming shelter for freezing temperatures

Posted at 9:01 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 22:01:07-05

As the temperatures continue to drop cities across our area are opening warming shelters for anyone who needs it.

It's safe to say this year's winter storm is in full effect. Sleet in Killeen on Thursday has been on and off for most of the day. With temperatures in the teens expected overnight, city officials say they are prepared.

All systems are a go in Killeen, with extra hands-on standby if needed.

Peter Perez, the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management director for the City of Killeen said, "We have plans in place to ensure that we have on-call staffing and our water and sewer department, our street departments, and then, of course, police and fire."

Perez and other city officials learned a thing or two from last year's winter storm. He said the city made it a priority to alert citizens earlier winter weather was approaching.

"We wanted to make sure that people knew that there would be some sort of winter event and to start preparing then," said Perez. "The other thing is we started working on our process to close services earlier and make that call earlier. Even KISD did that yesterday, rather than this morning. The city also did that, as well, as I know, a lot of surrounding agencies did too."

As temperatures drop and road conditions become increasingly dangerous, Fire Chief James Kubinski says "It takes the entire city to pull together."

Kubinski says the city is now partnering up with local organizations to host warming shelters. Those shelters are for anyone who needs it.

Kubinski said, "Anybody who loses power in the home, our warming centers are not just for the homeless, they are for any resident of the city of Killeen, or actually any resident of the county. If it's not about financial means, try to find yourself a hotel that's got power, because they typically are the last to lose it. When people build hotels, they build them intentionally in areas where they've researched that they don't see a loss of power very often."

The city of Killeen has two warming shelters open from now through Saturday.

Moss Rose Center on 1103 E. Avenue E will be open Thursday and Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. and there Rosa Hereford Community Center is open on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

These shelters are taking some of the load off the designated shelters for our homeless neighbors, like families in crisis.

Susanna Armour, the Programs Director for Families in Crisis, "It helps us having the warming station is that there are people that don't want to spend the night in the shelter. So, for people that maybe don't want to spend the night, that's a good place for them to be able to code get out of the elements, you know, and get a break from that cold weather. That might not be when we can reserve those spots in our facility for people that are going to be in for the duration."

"Our community partners like churches that have the space that are willing to work with us is imperative. So, it really takes a community to protect the village," said Kubinski.

Kubinski says as the ice thaws, the fire department will be on standby to assist the city's water department as calls come in regarding broken pipes, they will be on standby to shut off the water when needed to preserve the city water supply.