Winter weather brings out warm souls in Waterbury

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — You needed your shovels and your umbrellas to get through this day in Waterbury. Wednesday’s storm brought a mixed bag of snow and rain and at times — frustration for drivers hitting the roads.

“It’s pretty horrible here in Waterbury,” said motorist, Zuleika Planas.

Department of Public Works crews did their best to clear more than 300 miles of center line streets in the hilly, Brass City. Throughout the day, no matter what they were faced with snow or rain or sleet, News8 found people helping people brave all of the elements in Waterbury.

Angel Figueroa became a snow angel when he came to Emilio Medina’s aid. Medina was trying to wipe the snow and ice off of his car with the sleeves of his hoodie. Angel came along with a brush and a scraper to give him a helping hand.

“Thank you so much for helping me out with the tool,” Medina said to Angel. “I appreciate it.”

Speaking of helping hands, Wilfredo Carrasquillo and John Chapdelaine got some at a place called The Hospitality Center. During the day, it’s a drop-in facility for the city’s homeless. They can get warmth inside,  take a shower, do their laundry, or enjoy the company of others and not feel so alone.

“It’s cold, it’s wet and there’s no place to go except come here,” John said. “It’s a good place.”

Without this good place during the day, many say they would struggle outside in the elements. News 8 asked Wilfredo how hard it is on him during a cold, wintry day.

“It’s extremely hard,” he said. “I have to struggle day by day on how to live.”

There were a few dozen people inside The Hospitality Center today. Once it closes in the afternoon, many often flock to area shelters that will give them a safe place to sleep at night. News8 ran into Cami Wilcox at the St. Vincent dePaul Shelter.

“I wouldn’t have a place to go if I wasn’t in the shelter in the snow,” she said. “I would be on the streets.”

As of mid-afternoon, the shelter’s 126 beds were just about full. Wilfredo, John and Cami all said it’s a blessing that there are people – and places — willing to help others weather the storm.

“Absolutely, without a doubt,” John said.

Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary texted News8 saying he was very satisfied with how his city crews responded to the storm, giving them an “A+”. Waterbury Deputy Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo told us there were no major weather-related accidents in Waterbury.

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