Shelters ready if propane shortage goes too far


MARINETTE COUNTY- The propane shortage has taken even the most prepared among us by surprise.

“I didn't expect what we're seeing,” said Eric Burmeister, Emergency Management Director for Marinette County. “I didn't expect the magnitude of it.”

Eric Burmeister says several dozen families have called his emergency management office in Marinette in the past two days because their propane levels have dipped dangerously low.

“We've been working with the red cross with a couple of sites in the county that have expressed interest in opening a shelter should we need that. I will be going to the town of Silver Cliff tomorrow,” he said.

Marinette County emergency management says the red cross is poised to open shelters. But, none of the shelters are open just yet.

However, one of the possible sites is here at the Trinity Assembly of God in Crivitz

“Just try to help, what could we do to help? We can’t bring everybody into our own home,” said church member Aaron Patefield.

Patefield showed us the rooms that could be used to house families who are left out in the cold.

“We have a basement with five rooms down there,” he added, in addition to classrooms, a nursery, and an additional building.

With 20 percent of the county using propane, that's about 8-thousand people potentially at risk. And that need could be here sooner than later.

“I live in the village here so I have natural gas so that's a blessing. But we do have members within the church that live in outlying areas and their sole source of heat is propane and the shortage and the cost is making it difficult. We've heard stories of people moving in with family and leaving their homes because there is no gas to heat those homes. We know that there's another cold snap coming in a few days, so how much worse can this get?” said Patefield.

Warm hearts and open doors stand ready to embrace those who may soon be stuck in a chilling situation.