Staying Warm During Freezing Cold Temperatures

FRESNO, Calif. The quick leap into winter weather has caught many unprepared ... it's making for long days for heating companies, emergency crews and many homeowners.

John Ameral is delivering warmth. Tuesday night he worked overtime ... tis the season for broken heaters.

Ameral said, "They're saying please, save us, it's so cold we're never going to make it through the night. I'm like, I sure hope I can help. So I get in there, see what I can find and usually most, 90 percent of the time we get them going that day."

Unfortunately ... firefighters say the residents of a mobile home were using kerosene lamps and candles for heating when the unit caught fire. The home had no electricity ... and is now a total loss.

Rich Cabral with the Fresno Fire Department said, "We've got a very busy start to our evening tonight. We've got a lot of cold weather coming. So we just ask the public to be extremely careful. Those types of appliances, candles and so on so we don't have these tragic results."

Also a reason for concern ... black ice. Crews used sand on overpasses and bridges hoping to prevent a repeat of Tuesday morning when cars all over the Valley spun out and crashed. One nearly plunged off the side of an overpass in Downtown Fresno. The driver wasn't hurt.

Protecting plants is also a priority for many, tropical varieties are especially vulnerable. Covering them up or lighting the base can make a big difference.

Diane McElroy said, "Now when we came out here last night, we touched a couple of the leaves and they were frozen like ice already. So we're just hoping."

At Belmont Nursery growers have been working for weeks to prepare for the extreme dip in temperatures. Long spans of 20 something temps can kill even hardy plants.

"The plants at your house, what you are going to try to do is take the edge off. You can't protect a lot of the stuff at your house if it's gonna get real deep but if you have citrus and it's in containers, get it up underneath the patio, into the garage. Whatever you can do."

And it's not just plants that are in danger. Some cities like fowler sent out an automated message reminding people to bring their pets in from the cold.

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