To keep the house as warm as possible, Deltoro said, she was boiling water on her gas stove. Mejias had taken some of the wood from the tree he helped chop down to build fires in his fireplace.
Deltoro said she doesn’t know what she would have done without the help of her neighbors. She didn’t have the option of taking her mother to the home of a family member with power, or even a shelter, because she couldn’t get to her car until the tree was removed, and there were still loose electrical wires entangled in the gate behind which the car was parked.
Even if she had been able to use her car, she said, she couldn’t afford to wait in a line for hours to get gas. Mejias said he, too, was worried about the gas situation: He had gas siphoned out of his car one night as he slept in his frigid home.
As if that weren’t enough, Deltoro had the threat of another storm, and colder temperatures, to worry about. She couldn’t even fathom how cold it might get. “That just can’t happen,” she said. “I don’t know what we’ll do.”