The shelter was closed Friday, except to receive donations.
At least 30 water distribution sites were established in the counties affected by the chemically tainted water. Fifty-one truckloads of bottled water were en route to National Guard headquarters Friday to continue the distribution effort.
Charleston resident Bob McElwain made the trip to Hurricane, which has its own water reservoir and treatment plant. The Putnam County city opened several locations Friday for people to bring their own containers and collect water.
"We came down to get something to eat and get some water," McElwain said. "I saw this on TV, and it didn't look crowded. You go uptown, over by the high school, and there are just big, long lines."
McElwain and several other people had stopped at the Hurricane Walmart, where the city's water department had set up three water distribution stations. Because Hurricane has its own water supply, none of the city's restaurants or other businesses was forced to shut down.
Kelly Payne, a resident of Poca, had tried elsewhere before coming to Hurricane. Payne and her husband have nine animals and were trying to find water for them.
"Not only could I not find it in Putnam County earlier today," she said, "but I was in Huntington, and they were out of water, too."
Teresa Graley, also of Poca, said she had run into issues, too, trying to find water in other parts of the area.
"We've been to Dunbar, and they're out; St. Albans is out -- Kmart, Kroger, all of those places were out of water," Graley said.
City employees weren't the only ones distributing water to residents Friday. Woodmen of the World, a member-owned life insurance company that performs emergency outreach efforts, also distributed water at the Walmart plaza, and plans to purchase 30,000 bottles of water for distribution agency's West Virginia office.
"We had the funding -- there was just nowhere to get it," Fox said. "What we did in the meantime is break out our reserve tanks, and they're 425 gallons each."
According to Fox, Woodmen did similar outreach during the 2012 derecho, and might begin a rotation to distribute water in surrounding counties if the emergency situation continues.
"We partner with [the] Red Cross to do disaster relief in times like this, so we're already prepared to jump in when things like this happen," Fox said. "The fire stations, EMS, the city of Huntington all have our number -- every area across the U.S. has that connection with their local chapter outreach manager, so they'll jump right on it and say, 'Hey, what can you guys do?'"
The leak, which occurred sometime Thursday morning, originated at Freedom Industries and contaminated the Elk River, the source of water for West Virginia American Water's treatment center. A "do not use" advisory has been issued in nine counties, and water distribution centers opened across the region after Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and the federal government declared a state of emergency for part of the state.
Other Putnam County water distribution centers include the Hurricane Fire Department, Chapman Funeral Home on Teays Valley Road in Hurricane, the Culloden Volunteer Fire Department, the Putnam County Public Service District in Scott Depot and the John Henson Center in Hurricane.
Staff writer Lydia Nuzum reported from Hurricane. Reach her at lydia.nu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.