This is why the FEMA dome at St. Joseph High School didn’t open as warming center

This is why St. Joseph High School FEMA dome didn't open as a shelter

CROSSROADS, Texas – For many, it’s been four to five days or more without power, heat and water.

It may seem to many as just several days, but in subfreezing temperatures — this is not a good situation.

Several community members in the Crossroads have asked why St. Joseph High School FEMA dome didn’t open as a shelter or warming center.

Newscenter 25 reached out to the City of Victoria for a statement.

Below is an exact statement from the City:

“St. Joe and the Community Center are not fully able to contain adequate heating for this. Some of these locations were helpful during Hurricane Harvey, but not in an entirely unlikely severe winter weather storm like the one we’re all in. In addition, we’ve been in and out of power just like everyone else. Without the power needed for heating elements as well as no potable water or water for facilities, we could not adequately staff or provide a facility for adequate warming centers. Moreover, we cannot occupy a building without a fire suppression system just that it’s unsafe for us to ask citizens to occupy a building without a fire suppression system.”

The City confirmed that these facilities were certainly not optimal during this time, and the City is happy that they are able to direct residents to local agencies, churches and more for shelter.

Click here to view a list of resources the City has provided.

According to FEMA, nearly 400 evacuees with nowhere else to go in Victoria sheltered inside a 168-foot wide steel-reinforced tornado/hurricane safe room the day Hurricane Harvey barreled back in 2017.

This is the criteria for a community safe room:

The criteria is contained in FEMA Publication P-361, Safe Rooms for Tornadoes and Hurricanes: Guidance for Community and Residential Safe Rooms. This publication provided guidance to engineers, architects, state, and local government officials during the construction of the St. Joseph facility. Following the FEMA guidelines produced a safe room that provided protection from the deadly winds and windborne debris associated with Hurricane Harvey.

The FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) helped fund the project and the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TEDM) administered the funds. The total cost of the community safe room was $3,601,620. The federal share was $2,701,215 and the local jurisdiction match was