As the power remains out for thousands in Lakewood — as well as neighboring communities — the county has opened a 24-hour emergency shelter at Garfield Middle School.
With assistance from the American Red Cross, the shelter will serve as a place for residents without power to eat, sleep and take a hot shower.
“It’s a safe warm place for people to come,” said Christine Gordillo, the spokeswoman for the Lakewood City Schools.
The shelter opened at 1 p.m. Wednesday and is expected to remain open “until there’s no longer a need for it,” Gordillo said.
Cots are set up in the gymnasium, and the shower facilities are available for residents. TVs on the wall provide some entertainment.
Dennis Pell, the shelter manager for the American Red Cross, is one of five experienced volunteers from the Firelands Chapter of the American Red Cross based in Sandusky.
"We're getting ready for 150 people," said Pell, who's also volunteered to help with relief efforts for Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Irene. "It's probably overkill, but we'd rather be prepared."
"We have plenty of cots and plenty of blankets," added Pell. "And we have plenty of food."
If classes resume for the Lakewood City Schools on Thursday, the building will still be open to students as well as those seeking shelter.
On Tuesday, the city announced it was opening an “emergency reception center” for residents to go in the daytime.
Officials have said it could be a few days before all power is restored in Lakewood.