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EL nursing home without heat, need for space heaters

February 16, 2021 - 13:34
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EDIT: Arbor Hills representative Joel Jimenez said as of late Tuesday evening, full power had been restored to the facility. "We thank the community for jumping in to help our residents and staff. Power has been restored and our residents are nice and warm," Jimenez said. 

Arbor Hills Nursing Home (formerly Eagle Lake Nursing Home) is in need of heaters for their residents. 

Officials say the generator is only supplying electricity to the hallways and to the “red plugs” (emergency plugs), and that the generator is not equipped to sustain the heater. 

Administrator Phyllis Williams said, “We are asking people to loan us space heaters and blankets. If you want your heater and/or blanket back, please write your name and contact info on it so we can get them back to you.”

Williams said the facility will probably be without heat until Thursday. 

“These generators are what the state has told us we are to have. They are pretty big, but not the same as what hospitals are required to have. We test our generators weekly, but they are just not equipped to power heat and air in the event of emergencies like this.”

Williams went on to say that residents have “several blankets on them,” but heaters are desperately needed to warm the building up. 

The kitchen is powered by gas, so residents are able to have hot meals and the supplies and food prep are unaffected by the outage.

The City of Eagle Lake has been supplying fuel to keep the generators running. 

“We have made pleas to AEP since yesterday regarding the power outages in our community,” Eagle Lake City Manager Melissa Landin said. 

Landin said the city received an email response from AEP stating the blackouts in EL, Matthews and EL Campo communities are tied to a transmission line that went down in El Campo. That transmission line remains out of service, and will remain off the load shed. “The bulk of the outages we are experiencing are a result of the transmission line AEP has refused to put back in service. The majority of our outage is not rolling blackout,” Landin continued. 

State officials are now involved in this issue. 

Landin said Rice Medical Center is doing OK “they have a very large generator system that takes care of everything including heat there.”

Texas ChalleNGe Academy ran low on fuel for their generator, and the city offered to supply fuel to them. Landin said TCA has received fuel but the city will remain on standby for them should they need.