Two Deaths in Coleman Attributed to Winter Weather

City officials from the City of Coleman are releasing details related to the historic Texas winter storm that is believed to have claimed the lives of two Coleman citizens.  The timeline of events was explained to the Coleman City Council during a special meeting Monday evening at Coleman City Hall.  The following press release was provided by the City of Coleman explaining the events of last week.

The City of Coleman operates the electrical utility, purchasing power from Constellation. AEP Texas serves as the wires service provider that provide transmission and distribution service to the AEP Substation located on the edge of Coleman’s city limits. During the winter storm, the City of Coleman was placed on a controlled black out by AEP for 46 hours. The City was never placed on rolling blackouts like other communities. The Coleman City Manager requested AEP at least place the city on a rolling blackout schedule so citizens could warm their homes periodically and was denied.

With the loss of power for extended periods of time, the City began to experience challenges with the Water System, Wastewater System, Pump Stations, Lift Stations, and Emergency Communications (losing the 911 system for extended periods of time).  It took City and County leaders calling upon our political representatives that serve our community: Texas House Representative Glenn Rogers, Texas State Senator Charles Perry, and Congressman August Pfluger to intervene.

Friday morning (2/19) during a welfare check of residents, a 75-year-old male was found deceased in his home.  Friday evening, as city crews were repairing water leaks, a home was noted to have water coming out the front door. After crews knocked to notify the homeowner, there was no answer. City crews phoned into the Coleman Police Department, and they made entry into the home where they found a 72-year-old male deceased. The City will not be releasing the names of the victims until final notifications to the families.

City Manager Lopez stated: “While the City was able to maneuver through these challenges, it is unfortunate to report that due to sustained power outages, and temperatures reaching lows below zero, two residents of Coleman lost their lives and the deaths were directly attributed to exposure to the harsh weather conditions; exposure that could have, and should have, been mitigated at least to the same degree as it was in the surrounding communities placed on rolling blackouts.”

Lopez said in her report to City Council – “Many questions need to be answered by Legislative officials from the State of Texas. At the time of this communication, the City of Coleman, Texas by and through its Mayor Tommy Sloan, its City Manager Diana Lopez and on behalf of the City Council of Coleman and its citizens, is respectfully requesting the opportunity to provide testimony before the Committee on Business and Commerce regarding the winter storm and the events related to the loss of power. The City seeks answers from ERCOT, Public Utility Commission and AEP with two simple questions: 1) Why did AEP place the City of Coleman on a controlled blackout for 46 hours instead of placing us on a rolling blackout and 2) what can be done to prevent this from happening again?