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Shelter Opens For Downtown Residents

January 25, 2013, 6:12 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Shelter Opens For Downtown Residents

Power in parts of downtown has come back online throughout Friday following an explosion that knocked it out, but it is spotty. 

It's not just businesses struggling without power.  There are also the lofts, condos and apartments above these sidewalks that have been left in the dark.

The fire from the explosion is out, but firefighter Tim Schon's job is far from over.

"It's not something that can't be in your repertoire of work. Just about anything falls under our jurisdiction," Schon said.

That includes walking the downtown streets in the nine-block area blacked out by the early morning blast. Crews are going through every building, more than 200 in all.

"Me and my partner have been through three different buildings in a one-block radius. Any one that we know of that is without power and has residents," Schon said.

The power is not expected to come online any time soon. It could mean subzero nights for residents living in apartments and lofts here. So Schon's job is to tell them where to keep them warm.

"We've been going to the various buildings that have residential apartments, occupy just to notify them of possible shelters open," Schon said.

They've found few people home, but every door gets one of these flyers directing residents to emergency shelters set up by the Red Cross.

Power remains on along some parts of Phillips Avenue.  The city says many of these buildings are lit because they have emergency generators.

But as crews work throughout the weekend, expect things to change by the minute just like they've been doing all day.

In an afternoon briefing, city officials said they still expect downtown power to be out through the weekend. They are also asking residents affected not to bring in generators because of the danger hooking one up could pose to power crews if it is not set up properly.  Also if you live downtown, don't use grills, ovens or kerosene heaters, as they could pose a carbon monoxide risk to you and other residents of your building.

A shelter has been set up at the Red Cross.  The address is 808 West Avenue North. You can also call 336-2448.

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