Biloxi relief groups making progress in Port St. Joe

“So, dark had fallen before we arrived in Port St. Joe, Fla., and as we’re driving an old, familiar scent rudely burrowed its way through. As I did my best to ignore it, I began to feel walls closing in as we traveled further on. Eerie but all too familiar sights began to creep in along the edges, even as the darkness did its best to conceal it. Suddenly, I felt water slowly ebbing down my cheeks as it began to leak from my eyes. I felt a tightening in my chest, a darkness in my heart. I had been here before. A different time, a different place, but my soul has been in this moment. I promise you, the stories are not exaggerated, it IS that bad. Please, no matter how you choose to help, just do it!”

–Biloxi volunteer Nancy Boney, on arriving Friday in Michael-devastated Port St. Joe


Teams of Biloxi firefighters and volunteers in the small Florida community of Port St. Joe are making an impact since their arrival Friday. The waterfront town of 3,600 was devastated by Hurricane Michael back on Oct. 10, and the cleanup continues.

“We have already done a lot,” Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney said this morning. “We’ve cleared six houses so far by working mostly on debris removal of trees from roofs and yards. 

“We started out by helping firefighters and other first responders, but now we are helping everyone, focusing on the most vulnerable.  We have helped a veteran and some of the elder residents.”

On Friday, nearly a dozen volunteers from the Biloxi Fire Department, West End Hose Co. No. 3 and Keesler Air Force Base traveled from Biloxi to Port St. Joe to team up with the New Sharon (Iowa) Volunteer Fire Department for the weeklong relief effort. On Saturday, six more firefighters joined the team and will return to Biloxi this evening. Also today, another group of six will head out and return on Wednesday and the last group will leave on Thursday and stay until Friday. 

It’s the largest relief effort by the Biloxi volunteers, who have worked in disaster zones across the country.

“We have had great support,” Boney said.  “Later this week, we will be joined by volunteers from Tyndall and Eglin Air Force Base.  Then when the rain comes in, we will gut four or five homes.”

Boney said that the community has also showed overwhelming support for their efforts.

Said the fire chief: “The other day, we had a young lady stop us in the middle of the yard because she saw the Biloxi trucks.  Her mother lives in Hattiesburg and she wanted to thank us.  That was pretty neat.”
See images from the relief effort
Donate online to help with Biloxi’s relief effort


News & notes: Weekly report, house fire, council, breakfast

The week that was: Last week, the Fire Department answered 151 calls for service, including 106 medical emergencies and three fires; the Police Department handled 2,207 calls for service; the Community Development Department issued 75 building permits with a construction valuation of more than $580,000; and the Engineering Department continued to progress on projects throughout the city.  To see the reports covering last week, click here. 

House fire:  Biloxi Firefighters responded to a house fire on James L Buchanan in West Biloxi Monday evening and extinguished what occupants believed was a fire sparked by an attic fan. No injuries were reported.  To see photos from the scene, click here

Council meeting: The Biloxi City Council will hold two meetings today, a special called meeting at 4 p.m. to discuss the issuing of general obligation public improvement bonds and a regular schedule meeting at 6 p.m.  Both meetings will be at Biloxi City Hall. To see the agendas, click here

Breakfast with the Mayor:  The Biloxi Chamber of Commerce will host its next installment of Breakfast with the Mayor on Wednesday at 8 a.m. in the cafeteria of Merit Health Biloxi.  For more information, click here.

Senior Thanksgiving breakfast: On Thursday, all seniors, ages 55 and older, are invited to the Biloxi Parks & Recreation Department’s Senior Thanksgiving Breakfast and fellowship. The free event will be from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Donal Snyder Sr. Community Center. To see the flyer, click here