Newport residents seek warm shelter in wake of gas outages

By Chloe Leshner

Email: cleshner@abc6.com

Twitter: @ABC6

NEWPORT, R.I. (WLNE) – The Governor stressed Tuesday that the gas outage facing Newport Residents is a serious and potentially dangerous situation because of how cold it is outside.

A top priority is keeping the thousands of people without heat safe. And because of how long this will take to fix, people will have to ride this out – Either in their cold homes, or somewhere else.

Rooms at the Newport Marriott are all booked up, Governor Raimondo encouraging people to get a hotel anywhere in the state and national grid will reimburse them.

People impacted by the outages have mixed reactions, some staying optimistic while others are frustrated.

Dozens of people who live in Newport and Middletown bundled up and shuffled into Gurney’s Tuesday to get answers from National Grid at their makeshift customer service center.

Elizabeth Brooks said officials “realize we’re all in a situation where no one is comfortable.”

Thousands don’t have heat and relief is still days away. National Grid is directing people to hotels but Brooks says she’d rather stick it out with space heaters and her electric blanket.

“This is not a time to leave”, Brooks said. “I would not go peacefully, it would be stressful.”

The whole ordeal is stressful for many. Some say getting answers has been nearly impossible.

“When it started to get cold i checked the thermostat”, said Patricia Woods, of Newport. “All my heating elements were ice cold so when it went down to 1°, I tried to get a ride over here.”

Woods said she attempted to contact services for a ride, and got no response.

Officials can’t give an exact time or even day when national grid will be coming to their doors to turn off, and then turn back on the gas.

“I think they’re trying to get organized and so we don’t know the plan,” said Brooks. “Just post our cell phone number on the door which that’s not a very comfortable suggestion but that’s, what else are you going to do?”

They are emphasizing people should keep their receipts for hotels and transportation.

More plans for also in the works for additional warming centers and child care.

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2019