A year later: Generator, firewood sales soar after deadly winter storm

Central Texans getting homes ready for another potential deadly winter storm, widespread power outages
Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 2:32 PM CST
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - When the lights went out, there was a desperate need across Central Texas for alternatives to keep warm, as a result generators and firewood sales have boomed in the last year as Texans try to better prepare their homes.

During the storm, Felicia Holland recalls using the burners of her gas stove to heat her house when the power went out in freezing temperatures.

Jasmine Knell says she was home alone with her young children when the power went out while her husband was deployed.

“All the neighbors were consistently posting who had power who didn’t have power,” Knell said. “We got a notification that we should not expect power in our neighborhood until the next Wednesday.”

She says warming stations in the city were too far to travel to, and her neighbors relied on each other through the outage.

“My neighbor brought us a fire log first thing in the morning so we could get a really good fire going and warm up the house a little bit,” Knell said.

They were lucky to have the firewood on hand, as stores and shops were sold out across Central Texas.

“They sanded it down and they’re burning their dining room chairs, their tables their beds,” Kayla Holmes remembers friends burning whatever they could to stay warm in Copperas Cove.

Those who got their hands on firewood during the storm made sure it didn’t go to waste.

In Temple The Pelham Group hauled in truck loads of firewood to hand out for free at a local restaurant parking lot.

The need for firewood went away as temperatures warmed up in 2021 but the desire stuck around through the summer.

Suppliers started getting requests in August, well before the normal October start to the season.

As people stocked up on supplies, they also prepared their homes for another blackout.

“We had our house wired for a generator. That way if our power goes out we can just turn it on and off from our breaker box,” Knell said.

An expensive upgrade she says was necessary. With the easy on and off switch, incase her husband is still deployed if or when the power went out again.

She’s one of many who have invested in standby generators in the last year, keeping the industry busy.

Others, have turned to the slightly more affordable route of portable generators. Local Ace Hardware and Tractor Supply stores tell KWTX most generator sales have shifted to online, add in supply chain issues and its been a slow process of some slowly coming in and them quickly getting taken off the shelves.

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