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Among the many charter buses on U Street tonight—-many getting ready to get the hell out of town—-one is full of locals. About 60 first responders piled out of a bus at the Reeves Center, where they were picked up this morning at 4 a.m. They did not have time to watch the ceremony or listen to speeches.
People were dropping in front of them as they walked from the bus to their stations. Fainting from being too sick to be there in the first place was one problem. Hypothermia was another. People were not dressed for the weather. One woman was on the Mall with temperatures in the teens wearing stilettos. No socks. No tights. Stilettos.
“Some people got themselves there, but then they were cold and tired and didn’t want to get themselves out. They thought we could take them to their bus,” says registered nurse Sarah Betcher, 31, of Arlington. Jennifer Cirincione, 24, of Baltimore, standing with her outside the bus, said quite a few people didn’t know how to get back, even if they had a mind to. “They would say that their bus is parked. We’d ask them where and they would say ‘with the other buses,'” she says.