City administrators urged residents without electrical service to seek shelter as temperatures were forecast to dip below freezing through the weekend.
The prompting came Friday as officials announced that power could remain out for some residents until Tuesday.
“No one has to be cold,” said Miami Mayor Brent Brassfield at an afternoon press conference. “There is a place for you to go to get warm, have hot meals and be protected from the cold. I know it is not convenient to be in a shelter sometimes. But, it is a safe place.”
Red Cross Service Center Director Tammie Lewis said Saturday that between 60 and 70 people were spending the night at the Miami First Assembly of God Church where a shelter is in place.
“There is plenty of room, plenty of cots, pillows, blankets and food,” Lewis said.
City engineer Jerry Ruse apologized for the continued delay in power restoration, but said the discovery of additional broken poles and damaged primary lines has pushed the city further from its hope to release borrowed crews today.
Those crews - two from Texas and one from Arkansas - will be retained now through Tuesday, Ruse said.
Additionally, two out-of-state utility crews will arrive today to help the city expedite work.
An estimated 1,500 people remain without power since a Dec. 8 ice storm forced trees, limbs and power lines to the ground, severing utilities for approximately 80 percent of Miami utility customers on Sunday. As of Friday, that number was down to 15 percent, according to Ruse.
Also addressed at Friday's press conference were the following:
€ City crews have started to pick up debris from curbs. Miami Public Works Director and interim city manager Tim Wilson said residents are responsible for getting debris in their yards to the curb. Debris must be in manageable-sized pieces. Debris should not be stacked near fire hydrants or gas meters.
€ Residents can bring trees and limbs to the city transfer station on 22nd Street NW between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. No fee will be charged.
€ Spoiled food can be placed in polycarts or brought to the transfer station. The food must be double-bagged.
€ Eight electric crews and five tree-trimming crews are working throughout the city. Tree trimming is being limited to only what is necessary to clear the lines. Crews will be address further trimming needs at a later time.
€ All crews are working from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will continue until further notice.
€ The Miami Police Department has put extra patrols in place, but is reporting no elevated crime. However, Police Chief Gary Anderson did advise of one instance of a service-related scam. Residents are reminded to be cautious when approached by people wanting to offer cleanup services. “Do not pay in advance and do not pay someone for work that you did not ask them to do,” Anderson said. “If someone cleans up your yard and you did not ask them to - then they tell you that you owe them money - call the police department and we will advise them that you do not owe them anything.”