Cooling centers open in Hattiesburg, Laurel

Cooling centers open in Hattiesburg, Laurel
The C.E. Roy Community Center is one of two cooling centers that have been opened by the city of Hattiesburg. Photo credit WDAM.
The C.E. Roy Community Center is one of two cooling centers that have been opened by the city of Hattiesburg. Photo credit WDAM.
The Sherrill Community Center is one of two cooling centers that Hattiesburg has opened to help residents beat the summer heat. Photo credit WDAM.
The Sherrill Community Center is one of two cooling centers that Hattiesburg has opened to help residents beat the summer heat. Photo credit WDAM.

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Air conditioners in the Pine Belt are running overtime, as residents try to beat the heat.

But, for those who are homeless or cannot afford to run up their electric bills, there are a few places that have opened up to give folks shelter from the high temperatures.

In Laurel, the Salvation Army has turned its fellowship hall into a cooling station, and it is complete with cold drinks and snacks.

It opened from 2-5 p.m. on Thursday and is set to open again around noon on Friday.

"The Salvation Army is in this community to help the community in whatever way we need to do that and it's all about helping people," said Maj. Bert Lind, corps officer for the Laurel Salvation Army.

In Hattiesburg, the city and the American Red Cross have teamed up to help people escape the heat.

The city is opening the C.E. Roy Community Center on E. 5th Street and the Sherrill Community Center on W. Front Street during daytime business hours as long as the high temperatures last.

The Red Cross is providing bottled water for residents who come in to cool off.

"The weather, the heat in particular, is always an issue during this time of the year, and this is one of the ways we try to make accommodations for our citizens," said Ann Jones, manager of parks and recreation for the city of Hattiesburg.

"This is a team approach and we're able to provide some water and make sure that people are more hydrated and taking care of themselves," said Michael Andersons, disaster programs specialist for the American Red Cross.

On Thursday, the Red Cross delivered about 20 cases of water to the C.E. Roy Community Center.