Hotels fill up as people seek refuge from power outages

People seeking refuge after ice storm knocks out power

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Ongoing power outages are forcing people out of their homes as the cold air sets in, and many local hotels have been booked all weekend with people seeking refuge from the storm.

Management at Super 8 in Midlothian says they have been so booked, they had to turn away potential guests.

“Just this morning, since I’ve been here at 7 a.m., we’ve gotten at least 30 calls per hour,” said hotel manager Tenille Billie.

As people left without power search for warmth, the need has never been higher.

“I had to close our system because the hotel started overbooking. By 3 p.m. Saturday, half of the rooms were sold. By 7 p.m., all of our rooms were booked,” Billie said of the 8260 Midlothian Turnpike location.

Billie later had to compile a waitlist for people calling, prioritizing elderly guests. The hotel did have some availability on Sunday afternoon, however, which was good news for Chesterfield resident Deborah Godwin.

“I just got so lucky to find this one,” Godwin said.

Godwin and her aunt held out as long as they could after they lost power Saturday night, but they say they hesitated before booking the room.

“We were sitting in the car, trying to get warm with the heat, and I mentioned it to her. She’s like ‘No, it costs too much money.’ I said ‘I’ll pay for it. We have to go, I can’t take this.’”

Godwin says the last time she remembers it being this cold during an outage was two decades ago.

“We just stayed at home, believe it or not. We had kerosene heaters,” Godwin said.

But desperate times call for a little more, and manager Billie is happy to be able to provide, should they have space.

“We try to make everybody feel comfortable. And if I have to go out on a limb - like put people on a list and call them directly to let them know, ‘your room is ready, you can come in,’ then I will do that.”

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