Durham Rescue Mission opens doors to save lives during dangerous cold

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The cold blast is a concern for those without proper shelter. (WTVD)

Freezing temperatures mean dangerous conditions for those who don't have a place to take shelter. The Durham Rescue Mission launched "Operation Rescue: Warm Shelter," Monday in hopes of potentially saving lives from the frost.

One man needed help from EMS workers after arriving at the Durham Rescue Mission around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning for warmth.

The freezing temperatures prompted shelters to raise the white flag overnight, in hopes of getting those who don't have a warm place to go out of the dangerously cold conditions.

It's something the rescue mission does whenever temperatures are expected to be 25 degrees or below at night, or 35 degrees or colder if precipitation is expected.

The Durham Rescue Mission sent out four crews in shuttle buses with hot coffee and pastries in shuttle buses, hoping to get people off the streets and into the shelter for a warm meal, clean clothes, and place to sleep.

The mission's chief operation officer, Rob Tart, said normally the organization offers its services to those who pledge to make life-changes. But he says the Rescue Mission is opening its doors to all on Monday night.

"We have, over the years, seen people with frostbite," Tart said. "We've seen people just really sick, and unhealthy conditions, and they really need to come in and get some warm dry clothes, some food."

The crews that are on patrol are made up of men who've all spent time at the Durham Rescue Mission themselves.

They passed out flyers with shelter information, sticking them in-between branches and vines in areas where homeless tents are known to pop-up.

William Blue, one of the shuttle bus drivers for the operation, says he knows exactly what it's like to be out on the streets on a freezing night.

"It's very important to us because you know, like saving a life you know, because this kind of weather coming in, anybody and you can freeze to death out there," Blue said. "And I've been out there before myself. I've slept out in the trailers and abandon homes and stuff and it's not good."

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