At least 12 people have been found dead
in the Houston area after statewide power outages left millions without heat in subzero temperatures.
Some died from simply from the cold weather while others perished after trying to craft makeshift heating elements that either set the house on fire or sent toxic carbon monoxide fumes into the air.
The latter scenario took the lives of a woman and her child, while the former resulted in a woman and her three grandchildren dying from a fireplace burn gone wrong.
At least two homeless people died from the bitter cold, which set new records across Texas. An elderly couple, both 70, also died after their house caught fire, officials claim.
Several other lives were lost in motor vehicle accidents that occurred on roads that were glossed over with clear and black ice, which caused the drivers to lose control and wreck.
Over in Galveston County along the coast, the medical examiner requested storage capacity for between 20 to 50 deceased persons.
"We believe that the medical examiner would not make that request if it was not necessary," stated Judge Mark Henry.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who wants to confiscate everybody's guns
, issued a statement of sympathy for the victims and their family.
"It's very painful," she said. "I beg people to be very careful with their fireplaces, with their cars, and certainly to check on seniors."
Known deaths only the "tip of the iceberg," warns judge
The fact that millions of Texans still do not have power is "unacceptable," announced Gov. Greg Abbott. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said much the same, noting that the situation is "life-threatening."
Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset, who himself has been living without power, said a number of people had run out of oxygen during the storm before first responders were able to reach them.
"It's unfortunate," Trochesset said. "We should not be in this. If it's a non-sustainable way of creating energy, then there should be a back-up plan. Too many millions of people are being affected by this."
The death toll across the state is expected to rise in the coming days as more victims are discovered. With broken water pipes and other damage included in the mix, cleanup efforts will likely take a considerable amount of time to complete.
"It's a tragedy," said Aura Tapu, a neighbor of one of the families in the Houston area whose house burned to the ground. "It's terrible what's happening to people."
In Harris County alone, there were more than 300 reported cases of carbon monoxide poisoning, a number that is only expected to increase as the data catches up with reality.
Many desperate people brought in barbecue grills, generators, and other outdoor equipment inside their homes, which resulted in a great number of them being poisoned by the fumes.
"With that number of patients going in, it's turning into a mini-mass casualty event," said Dr. Samuel Prater, a University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
emergency physician whose team had treated at least 60 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning at the time when he was interviewed.
"More than half of the patients were children."
According to County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the official number of carbon monoxide poisoning cases is "just the tip of the iceberg."
"I know you're cold," she told the public via the media. "Folks who don't have power: do not bring appliances indoors that belong outdoors."
Another major concern as things continue to warm up across Texas in the coming days is that people will think it's safe to drive during the day when things are melted, only to have it all freeze back up again at night.
More related news can be found at Collapse.news
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