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Families Without Power Take Shelter at Senior Center

As of Wednesday night, 2,207 FirstEnergy customers were still without power

A few families took shelter at the Mentor Senior Center Wednesday night as they waited for the return of their electricity.

As of late Wednesday night, 2,207 FirstEnergy customers were without power as a result of damage from Hurricane Sandy. The staff at the Senior Center thought that high figure would produce as many as 300 visitors to the emergency shelter. However, American Red Cross volunteer Brian Kissinger said only a dozen or so came to the center for warmth and a meal.

"It's very frustrating when you want it back on," Willowick resident Darold Brown said. "People that I've talked to have lost it and got it back on. It's just a matter of where you live and the situation."

Brown sat with his wife and three children, enjoying sandwiches, games and a warm place to stay. In conjunction with Red Cross and the Lake County Emergency Management Agency, the Mentor Senior Center will keep its doors open as a shelter until 10 p.m. tonight.

"We came just to get warm and, obviously, we can't cook at home," Brown said. "We'll get a bite to eat and go home and snuggle up."

The three agencies allowed residents from all over Lake County to visit. Euclid resident Vran Kovic was told by workers at her city hall to come to Mentor because it was the closest Red Cross shelter. Kissinger said there are seven other similar shelters in Northeast Ohio.

"We looked all over this area for hotels and all of them are full," Kovic said. "All of the hotels are full — up and down Route 91, 306 and 615."

Mentor couple Dan and Les Gibson had an optimistic outlook as they sipped coffee in the Senior Center lobby.

"We're alright," Dan said. "It's not the first time, and I'm sure it won't be the last."

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