WUFT News

Gainesville braces for cold weather

By on October 29th, 2012

The temperature in Gainesville is expected to drop below 40 degrees Monday evening, prompting Gainesville residents to make preparations.

Gainesville Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Joanne Rice said residents need to take precautions when heating up their homes.

“I think that a lot of times we take things for granted, so it’s just making sure … that things work and work appropriately,” Rice said. “We do have a big issue when it comes to portable space heaters. They’re probably one of the leading causes of our fires, and that’s usually from being too close to something that’s combustible like your drapes or upholstery or bed or something like that.”

Rice said there were 60,000 heating equipment fires in the U.S. in 2009. The fires caused nearly 500 deaths and more than 1,000 injuries. Rice recommends creating a safety zone by having a 3-foot radius around the heating equipment.

While some Gainesville residents are using heaters in their own homes, others are helping the homeless look for a warm place to sleep. Sandy Albert, a volunteer at the St. Francis House homeless shelter and soup kitchen in Gainesville, said she’s seen more people come into the homeless shelter because of the cold weather.

“Last week and especially today, it’s cold out there and people don’t have jackets and they’re just trying to get to a safe place, be warm, get some food in their belly and continue on with their lives,” she said.

Rebecca McLucas said she was turned away  from Gainesville’s St. Francis House because there wasn’t enough space.

“I feel that they should have more shelter for us. Being cold outside, I feel that us homeless people suffer like everybody else, and they should have a place for us to stay when it’s getting cold out,” she said. “I just have two blankets — that’s it.”

The shelter’s director of operations, Lee Smith, said he and his team are preparing for more people to arrive.

“Last year was considered a mild winter,” he said. “This year, you know, October is soon to have cold night and normally we don’t reach that until November.”

Smith said the rules at St. Francis House become more relaxed once temperatures go below 45 degrees. This means that the house becomes an overnight emergency shelter, and the staff does not turn people away.

Emily Miller edited this story online.


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

The Preservation Jazz Band takes the stage at the frank street fair Thursday evening on Feb. 26. The band is from New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jazz Band, Street Fair Draw Crowd To Downtown Gainesville For Frank Conference

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed on Bo Diddley Community Plaza on Thursday as part of a street fair. The fair was part of day three of the 2015 frank conference.


Construction workers from Superior Construction Company Southeast work on replacing the culvert underneath the Oakleaf overpass in Clay County on Wednesday, Feb. 11.

Oakleaf Overpass Closed During Culvert Construction

A deteriorated culvert failed inspection last month, closing the Overleaf overpass over State Road 23 until a new culvert is built. The construction has caused traffic issues and added to commute times.


Mishler rides Chief Free Spirit, and Cherry follows behind. Cherry, 7, is Chief Free Spirit’s daughter. Chloe Stradinger/ WUFT

Evangelical Cowboy Rides Through Gainesville As Part Of Larger Journey

Doc Mishler rides around the country on horseback preaching his Christian beliefs. He travels about 20 miles per day and rode through Gainesville on Monday.


Mike Myers, 68, illustrates how he created a notepad from an orange juice container. Myers said that the Repurpose Project is the culmination of his dream.

Repurpose Project Finds Success in New Location

After moving to its new location next to Satchel’s Pizza, The Repurpose Project has more than quadrupled in size and substance. The owners plan to expand with the additional space, adding a garden, play area for kids and an event area.


A herd of American bison gather on Dixie Sportsman’s Hunting Preserve February
21. The 320-acre preserve is currently for sale.

Future Uncertain For 320-Acre Dixie County Hunting Preserve

A wildlife preserve in Dixie County used for hunting is for sale. The current owner said he will not require the buyer to continue in the hunting business.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments