People leave powerless homes, head to hotels

Kent County

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — With tens of thousands of Consumers Energy customers without power across the state, West Michigan hotel rooms are filling up fast as many people check in until their service is restored.

Some metro Grand Rapids hotels sold out Thursday, including the Country Inn & Suites off 28th Street in Cascade Township.

“People keep extending stays or canceling stays,” Amanda Renis, the front desk manager at the Country Inn & Suites, said. “It’s going to be packed in here tonight.”

Her phone was ringing off the hook.

“Three questions they (callers) ask: do you have power, do you take pets and do you have any rooms left?” she said.

Retired couple Randy and Julie Peters lost power at their home Wednesday and checked into the hotel.

“We are staying here again tonight,” Julie Peters said Thursday.

Randy Peters said the temperatures in their home dropped into the 50s, “too cold at night to sleep.”

They say they’re making the best of the situation and calling it a “mini-vacation.”

Others, like John Boger, decided to stay home even though power has been in and out for the past two days.

“You never know when you are out like this (in these conditions); you might by driving by powerlines,” he said.

His home is holding at 65 degrees for now, warm enough for him to stay.

“So you don’t have power,” he said. “You just relax, sit down in your chair and grab a magazine.”

He says his neighbor, also his tenant, has a baby. He offered to pay for their stay in a hotel if it gets too cold.

Health experts say a safe temperature for your home is 64 degrees. Any lower could be dangerous. The temperature should be 70 degrees or more for infants or elderly people, who may be more susceptible to hypothermia.

Several warming shelters have also been set up in West Michigan for those without power. You can also reach out to 211 for information on more resources.

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