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Shelter From The Cold In Phoenixville

Phoenixville offers a refuge for anyone who needs to come in from the cold.

When the temperatures plunge as they did in Phoenixville Tuesday and the Borough declares a code blue the Civic Center at Main and Hall Streets opens as a shelter.

Tuesday night during the heart of he snow storm nobody came in. By Wednesday afternoon several people came to warm up. The shelter is being staffed by parking enforcement officer who answered the call to help since they are not writing parking tickets in the middle of storms or when temperatures are dangerously frigid.

Wednesday even Rich Hurter was getting ready to wrap up his 9-6 shift when a man came in to spend the night.

Helping someone who told him he had spent Tuesday night nearly freezing to death sleeping in a truck warned Hurter's heart. "Makes me feel good this is not for nothing," he told Patch after helping the man set up a cot and offering him a warm drink.

It's not fancy but it is warm inside the same gym that is home to recreational programs during most of the year and a summer camp when school is out for the year in the much warmer months of June, July and August.

Hurter and the other shelter staff want the public to know that they are there. The shelter will be opened until at least Thursday morning when Hurter says Borough officials will meet to decide whether to extend the code blue or end it for this storm.

The shelter is open to anyone in need of a place to get warm, 24/7 during the code blue declarations.

Families with children are offered a separate place within the shelter. No alcohol is permitted and the staff checks to make sure people seeking shelter are not a list of known predators (think Megan's Law) before being allowed to sign into the shelter.

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