Major City Shelter Resumes Service After Power Outage

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission resumed service to the city’s homeless Sunday afternoon after a power outage shut it down in some of the coldest weather of the year (See related story).

The outage had nothing to do with the ice storm. It was just coincidence that a rodent got into the mission’s internal wiring and created an arc that blew out the entire system. A temporary fix helped to restore services to the third oldest provider of its kind in the country, but getting parts for a full repair were expected to take until at least Monday.

“Because there’s a lot of electricity coming into our 40,000 square foot building,” says Executive Director Richard McMillen, “these fuses are the size of your arm.”

So for now, the building at 13th and Vine Streets is being powered by a generator, meaning it won’t have full capacity.

“We don’t have full power back, we just have a generator that’s giving us some limited lights,” McMillen says. “We’re able to do our cooking, so we’ll be serving meals and we will at least be able to provide shelter in a portion of the building.

McMillen says he’ll use whatever space that can be kept warm.

“It may be mainly in our dining room that we’re able to take people in,” he says, “but we will be able to take people in tonight.”

City officials could not be reached to answer questions about making up the beds in city shelters.

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