Lee Russell said the power at his Olde Towne Butcher and Market on William Street didn't even flicker when the "super derecho" passed through downtown Fredericksburg on Friday night. He was one of the rare business owners who never lost electricity during the storm.
Lee, and his wife, Linda, live on Caroline Street and the power at their home came on Saturday. But during the time the power was off, Lee Russell said it was hot inside his house. He went to work Saturday and came up with the idea of opening up a portion of his store where it was a cool 65 degrees for a cooling shelter, where he offered free water. Outside, the heat index has been above 100 degrees every day since the storm passed through.
"There were people all over town just sitting in the heat," he said. "Saturday we had people coming in and sitting down and we still had a couple of people on Monday, mainly just people walking up and down the sidewalk," he said.
His butcher shop is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Russell said people are welcome to stop in to cool down and grab a drink of water. He brought in a bench from outside for seating and behind is the glass window where people can see his employees butchering and cutting meats.
"We were very blessed and I figured let's share the luck," he said.