Shelters provide a break from Sandy for central Pennsylvanians

Written by Tim Lambert, WITF Multimedia News Director | Oct 29, 2012 8:54 PM

(Harrisburg) -- The American Red Cross reports at least 600 people in Pennsylvania have sought shelter from mega-storm Sandy at more than two dozen of its temporary shelters.

High winds, heavy rains and power outages forced folks from their homes and into 11 midstate facilities set up by the Red Cross from Gettysburg to Mechanicsburg to Lebanon and York.

Jamie Francis, who lives near Hummelstown, is staying at the Harrisburg Red Cross shelter, and says it's better to be around people than home alone.

"My neighbors started leaving, so I thought, well, maybe it's not safe to be where I'm at," she says. "There's a lot of trees right in our area, so I thought if a tree falls down and I can't get out, it's probably safer to be in a big building without a lot of windows."

Mike Murphy of the Red Cross is the shelter manager at John Harris High and says the facility can hold about 250 people.

"We can accomodate that here and then, if we have to open another shelter, we'll open another shelter," he says.

The shelters are expected to remain open for the next day or so.
People who need assistance should bring things like identification, pillows, towels, blankets and other items for their stay.

Also, the state Fish and Boat Commission has advised residents of about 80 homes downstream of the Speedwell Forge Lake Dam in Elizabeth Township, Lancaster County, to evacuate as a precaution. A shelter was set up at Manheim Township Middle School in Neffsville.

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