Houston Furniture Store Opens Its Doors For Shelter After Deadly Winter Storm

(Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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A furniture store in Houston, Texas, has opened as a shelter to help local residents stay warm as the state struggles to regain power amid a deadly arctic freeze.

“If you need warm shelter today and are near Gallery Furniture 6006 N. Freeway in Houston, please SAFELY come by to keep warm,” the store said on its website.

Owner Jim McIngvale posted a video to Facebook telling area residents to seek refuge in his large store.

“Come on out! We’ve got sweatshirts, we’ve got lots of hot food, we’ve got a place for you to sit, sleep, or stay” McIngvale said in the video. “Both stores are open for business if you want to buy furniture and both stores are open for people wanting to take shelter from the storm if your house lost power. So you’re welcome to come out and stay here for a couple of hours, stay all night.”

Gallery Furniture Grand Parkway in Richmond was also open as a shelter but has since lost electric and had to close down, the website states. (RELATED: Texas Woman And Young Girl Die After Running Car In Garage To Stay Warm)

“We all have a responsibility for the well-being of the community and we think this is our responsibility,” McIngvale–who was seen walking around the store offering donuts and pastries– said, according to the Associated Press (AP).

“We’ve been through tougher fights than this. We’ll get through this,” he added. McIngvale also opened his store as a shelter back in 2017 after Hurricane Harvey, according to the report.

In order to help curb the possible spread of COVID-19, McIngvale said anyone in the shelter must wear a mask and bottles of hand sanitizer can be found throughout the store, according to the AP.

Residents have flocked to the Houston location, thankful McIngvale opened his doors, according to the AP.

“We came in and they welcomed us with open arms,” Tina Rios told the outlet. Rios, her husband and their three children lost power at their suburban mobile home around 4:30 a.m. Monday, according to the AP. After a freezing night, they made the hourlong drive from Channelview to the makeshift shelter.

More than 300 people spent the night at the shelter on Tuesday, including 29-year-old Stephanie Anderson and her 8-year-old son Jaden, according to the AP. Anderson said she lost power Monday afternoon and spent the night sleeping under three blankets, no water, and only candlelight to see. Anderson said she saw the furniture store was open as a shelter on Facebook and decided to take shelter there on Tuesday, according to the AP.

“I’m just thankful that we’re here and we’re warm. If we didn’t come here, I’m afraid we would still be at home,” she said, according to the AP.

Millions of Texans have been without power for days after a winter storm left the state’s power grid inoperable.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said during a news conference Wednesday that “every source of power that the state of Texas has has been compromised,” according to The New York Times (NYT).

As the state struggles to restore power, water advisories to boil water for safety have been issued for nearly seven million Texans, including those in Houston, according to the NYT.

The Daily Caller has reached out to McIngvale but did not receive a response at the time of publication.