In Wyncote, a town just north of Philadelphia, Hannah Reimer took to Facebook to ask for a kerosene heater and recommendations on where to buy the fuel.
"And it worked! Someone from my church, who has power, has a kerosene heater and my husband is picking it up now," she said Wednesday night.
Reimer and her husband then planned to pay it forward, inviting their neighbors to spend the night.
"Our neighbors don't have heat, either," she said. "Or a kerosene heater."
Thousands of utility workers descended on the Philadelphia suburbs to get the lights back on.
It was the second-worst storm in PECO's history—eclipsed only by Superstorm Sandy in 2012—with the utility reporting 623,000 outages at one point Wednesday.
"We know that this is going to take multiple days," PECO spokeswoman Cathy Engel Menendez said.
About 3,500 employees and contractors were working to restore power, while an additional 1,000 linemen from utilities as far as Chicago were expected to join the company's efforts, she said.
Several hospitals were running on backup generators. Most decided to cancel elective surgeries and out-patient testing.
Dr. John Kelly, chief of staff at Abington Memorial Hospital outside Philadelphia, one of the affected facilities, said critical staff needed for any emergencies would be staying overnight. He said the hospital had plenty of fuel and food.
The American Red Cross opened three shelters in southeastern Pennsylvania and stood ready to open more.
"We've been told to be prepared for four to six days. We are gathering staff and volunteers for up to a week," spokesman Dave Schrader said.
—By The Associated Press