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Bishop invites people to sleep in Virginia church after ice storm

'To see people snug and warm and comfortable... it's just one of the greatest feelings in the world'
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Posted at 7:48 PM, Feb 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-14 19:49:14-05

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Dominion Energy officials say a build-up of ice weighing down on power lines and trees is causing them to snap.

Broken poles, downed power lines, and transformer fires caused by a sweeping ice storm has left thousands across Central Virginia in the dark and in the cold.

RELATED: Ice storm knocks out power to 96,000+ in Virginia as of 6 p.m. Sunday

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Dominion Energy crews work to restore power after an ice storm on Feb. 13, 2021.

"We are, in those hardest hit areas, asking our customers to plan for a multiple day restoration event," said Dominion spokesperson Jeremy Slayton.

The thought of no power for potentially several days did not sit right with Marylinn Minor.

"I'm in a hotel, because I have no heat," said Minor.

She checked herself into a room with no clear timeline on when her Hanover home will have its power restored.

"Getting here was not that easy, either. There were several trees down and the roads are still icy," Minor explained. "I had to do something. I couldn’t stay there without any heat."

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Christian Tabernacle Bishop Kenneth Hicks

For those who can't afford a hotel say, people like Kenneth Hicks are stepping in to offer safety, shelter, and food.

"We need to be in place to meet the needs of the people," said Hicks.

After learning about power outages in the Tri-Cities, the bishop and his wife invited anyone impacted by the storm to Christian Tabernacle in Petersburg for a warm place to sleep overnight and a filling meal.

"I slept in the pulpit. I got up and walked the floor," said Hicks. "And just to see people snug and warm and comfortable, no worries. I mean, it's just one of the greatest feelings in the world as a pastor."

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Christian Tabernacle

While crews work to restore power across the region, Dominion is asking folks to be patient.

"Just because there’s a work location or there’s an outage in your neighborhood and you don’t see a line crew working, doesn’t mean we don’t have people out there," said Slayton.

Dominion patrol teams are still assessing damage and gathering data in some areas. Once that's complete, they'll have a better idea on when people's power could be restored.

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Dominion Energy crews work to restore power after an ice storm on Feb. 13, 2021.