Metro grandma with chronic illnesses living with no heat in frigid weather after furnace breaks down

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BATES CITY, Mo. -- For more than a week now, Janet Wise has been struggling to survive the dangerous, cold weather that currently has a bear hug on the metro.

“Night before last I was okay, but the night before that nothing helped me to stay warm," Wise told Fox 4's Robert Townsend Wednesday.

The Lafayette County grandmother said, in her entire life, she's never been as cold as she is now that her gas furnace, which she just replaced two years ago, has broken down.

"I just keep on my coat, my turtleneck and I keep a heavy quilt handy,” she said.

Janet Wise

When asked how cold she suspects it is in her tiny trailer in Bates City, Missouri, Wise estimated about 45 degrees.

“The blower does not work any more," she said of her furnace. "It’s just not coming on, and the guy who looked at it told me the kind of furnace (it) is -- there’s no fixing,” the 58-year-old said.

Buying a new furnace is estimated to cost $1,000, and Wise, who works as a cashier at a nearby gas station, said she can't afford it.

“By the time I pay my rent, my lights and my gas, I have no money," she said.

As a result, the tiny grandma who has a heart condition and chronic back problems is using three space heaters to keep herself and her mobile home warm.

“The last two nights I was sleeping in three sweatshirts, my coat and two heavy blankets," she said. "I also had the space heater hitting me right in my face, and I was still freezing."

On Sunday, Wise spent Christmas with a relative. So why not go back there?

“I can. I mean I’ve been offered to go back there, but I feel like I’m intruding," she said. "My son has a houseful, and my daughter lives pretty far in Independence. So I would just rather stay here and toughen it out. About two years ago when the first furnace shut down on me, I went that entire winter without any heat."

Her daughter, Misty Wise, said it's heartbreaking to see her mother living like this.

“That’s just how she is," Misty Wise said. "She has a lot of pride. I’m a teacher, and I also don’t really make a lot of money, and so that’s why I set up a Go Fund Me page to try to help buy her a new furnace."

In the meantime, a cold Janet Wise prepares for another frigid night in her coat, sweater and gloves.

“Maybe someone will donate me a new furnace as a belated Christmas gift," she said. "My birthday is on Feb. 1, so I don’t know. Maybe we will raise enough money to get one as an early birthday gift. For now, I can’t leave my dogs, so we’ll be right here."

Misty Wise's Go Fund Me page for her mother has raised $400 of its $1,000 goal so far.

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