BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Staying outside during frigid temperatures or using unconventional ways to heat your home can be deadly.
Because of the risk, the city of Birmingham opened a warming station at Boutwell Auditorium downtown and Birmingham leaders urged anyone in need take advantage of the free heat and food.
As soon as the doors opened at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday night, the shivering, long line of people waiting outside quickly moved inside.
Birmingham Operations Manager Don Lupo said the homeless are often thought to be the only people who need a warm place to stay when temperatures drop dangerously low, but the elderly and families struggling to pay bills are sometimes in need.
More than 75,000 Alabama families get help from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, according to SpotlightonPoverty.org.
“Don’t start a fire in that fireplace that hasn’t been checked out. Don’t start a fire in the middle of the floor because the next thing you know the fire is going to be out of control and you’re going to be in trouble and you run the risk of harming your family,” Lupo said.
Lupo said people seeking refuge from the cold watched movies, got a hot meal and a warm place to sleep.
Staying safe also a top priority, the city said security would be on-site through the night.