CHARLES TOWN – As thousands in the Panhandle continue to endure the heatwave that began June 29, health officials say they’ll provide free cooling stations as long as they’re needed.
The one set up at the Jefferson County Health Department at 1948 Wiltshire Road in Kearneysville will operate at least through Friday, said Jennifer Maggio of the Jefferson County Homeland Security & Emergency Management.
The cooling station will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Power company officials have said it may be the weekend before all West Virginia homes have power again.
After the massive storm that knocked power out for millions in West Virginia and other parts of the mid-Atlantic, residents realized they could be facing days without air conditioning. Many in the Panhandle formulated Plan Bs – heading to movie theaters or malls or
taking their kids to swimming pools and lakes to stay cool.
Some checked into hotels or doubled up with friends or relatives who did have power.
In and around town, most people began conversations this way: “You got power?”
A cooling station at St. Andrews Mountain Community Center, the stone building on the corner of W.Va. 9 and Mission Road in Harpers Ferry, also will continue to operate indefinitely, health department officials say.
Officials also opened the gym at Sam Michael’s Park at 1102 Job Corps Road in Shenandoah Junction so that parents could give their children a cool place to play.
Showers were available for those who don’t have electricity or water at home, according to Maggio.
Another option for cooling off was at Camp Hill United Methodist Church at 601 E. Washington St. in Harpers Ferry. In downtown Charles Town, Community Ministries provided emergency shelter for the homeless only at 238 W. Washington St.
Over the weekend, at least one pregnant woman, some families and some elderly residents who were left without power turned out at cooling centers initially set up at Jefferson and Washington high schools and at Wildwood Middle School. Residents were invited to bring along pets to Wildwood.
At the cooling centers, residents could watch TV; power medical devices, laptops and cell phones; and get free bottled water, snacks, baby wipes for wiping down and other assistance. Those with questions about the cooling stations or who need transportation to the health department may call 304-728-8416.