Courthouse basement turned into warming shelter

Published 7:10 pm Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Those who have no way to escape the single-digit temperatures predicted for this week can find a warm reprieve at the Chilton County Courthouse.

The county commission’s meeting chamber will be used as a warming shelter from Wednesday night through 8 a.m. Monday.

County Commission Chairman Tim Mims said the county wants to make sure people who don’t have heat or have inadequate heat have a safe, warm place to go.

Just as dangerous as the temperatures themselves are steps people are taking to stay warm, Mims said. On Sunday, a Clanton mother and her 2-year-old daughter died in a house fire in Lomax. Early reports suggest electric heaters, a wood stove and a propane heater the family were using to stay warm while sleeping huddled in the living room started the fire.

“Any way we can prevent what happened in Lomax from happening again, we want to do that,” Mims said.

Chilton County EMA contributed cots for people to sleep on, while Sheriff Kevin Davis will have a sheriff’s deputy on duty.

The sheriff’s office is providing transportation for people who need a ride to the shelter.

Chilton County EMA Director Bill Collum said this week he has seen several families who struggle to stay warm. One family he described had two young children and was heating their home with one electric heater.

“There are people like that this is for,” said Collum. “We don’t want someone who really needs heat to be without.”

Those going to the shelter at night will need to enter on the east side of the courthouse at the E-911 entrance. For more information on transportation, contact 755-4698.