Acres Home families describe surviving historic winter storm

The thought of a snow day sounded fun to 14-year-old Lilian Valentine, but things quickly changed for families who had a vision of a fun winter wonderland.

Video Transcript

LILLIAN VALENTINE: I was saying, oh, I wish we had snow in Houston. And then we got snow in Houston, and I did not like it.

STEFANIA OKOLIE: The thought of a snow day sounded fun to Lillian Valentine, but things quickly changed for families who had a vision of a fun winter wonderland.

CYNTHIA THOMAS: This is ridiculous.

EVE THOMPSON: The lights went off.

CYNTHIA THOMAS: Four kids on the floor, two adults here.

STEFANIA OKOLIE: 10 people in Cynthia Thomas' living room. She took in neighbors like Eve Thompson when their pipes burst.

EVE THOMPSON: We had the pipes wrapped, but it still-- I guess it was so cold.

STEFANIA OKOLIE: Across the street, they bundled up. They hung sheets on every window--

CYNTHIA THOMAS: We closed off everything in the house.

STEFANIA OKOLIE: --and struggled to stay warm.

CYNTHIA THOMAS: We had a gas stove, and we kept pots of water boiling.

STEFANIA OKOLIE: Their concerns over a running gas stove, however, made things frightening, as they learned of families and children dying of carbon monoxide poisoning.

CYNTHIA THOMAS: We were scared because it's a silent killer.

EVE THOMPSON: And if we all go to sleep--

CYNTHIA THOMAS: When we all go to sleep, everybody's gone, you know? We made sure that the kids was on the floor, and we had they shoes by the door just in case.

STEFANIA OKOLIE: Today they face the same struggle so many across the Houston area do.

CYNTHIA THOMAS: We went to three places to get water, and we found no water.

EVE THOMPSON: And trying to prepare for another freeze expected tonight.

CYNTHIA THOMAS: We're going to cut off our water. And we're going to bundle up, and I hope the lights don't go out tonight.

STEFANIA OKOLIE: These neighbors, who have helped one another through a tough week, are still feeling a sense of gratitude.

EVE THOMPSON: I try not to complain because it could be worse than that. You know, some people don't have nowhere to stay, you know? People died.

STEFANIA OKOLIE: I'm Stefania Okolie, "ABC 13" Eyewitness News.