Central Floridians prepare for frigid temperatures

Shelters opening, Del-Air responding to several heating calls

APOPKA, Fla. – Central Floridians are bracing for what could be one of the coldest nights of the year.

Temperatures are dipping into the 20s and 30s Wednesday night, prompting shelters to open and heating companies to respond to several calls.

The Fellowship Hall at the First United Methodist Church of Apopka will turn into a shelter Wednesday night.

Pastor John Fischer said it is a safe place for people to seek comfort and warmth from the frigid temperatures.

"It's what we're called to do as a church. We're called to take people in who are less fortunate and serve them as best as we can, and this is certainly a case where that's happening," Fischer said.

Fischer said this is the second time two weeks that the church has opened its doors for the less fortunate during a cold snap.

"Last time, we had about 15 people, but it was the first time we had done it," Fischer said. "I would anticipate more this evening than we had last time around."

He said the community is getting results for Apopka's homeless. Many people donated food, blankets and jackets so the homeless can stay warm.

"It's amazing how quick it goes. It goes just as quickly as it comes because the need is that great," Fischer said. "It's really shocking how many people here in Apopka are homeless or in need of assistance."

News 6 spoke with Del-Air technician Patrick Mayer on Wednesday. He said the company has been receiving a lot of calls about heating.

"Right now we're switching from heating to cooling and heating to cooling," Mayer said. 

He said a lot of the calls are about the burning smell that happens when you turn on the heat.
"That's usually the dust burning off the electric heat strip," Mayer said. "It usually comes and then shortly after, it will go away."

But if that smell lingers, or if you hear strange noises or see smoke, Mayer said there could be a bigger and potentially dangerous problem. Mayer said faulty units could cause fires and the best way to stay safe is to get your heating unit checked regularly.

Mayer suggests that during the winter, homeowners should keep their heat set at 68 degrees so as not to don't run up the electricity bill.

Click here for more cool-weather tips and shelter information.


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