Boney to lead fire chiefs from 10 states

As many as 400 fire chiefs from across the Southeast will be in Biloxi this week for the annual conference of the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs, and the group will make history, with Biloxi’s fire chief being named the first Mississippian to head the organization.

Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney, who has served as Mississippi’s representative on the organization’s board for three years, will be named president of the organization, the first Mississippi chief to lead the 93-year-old group.

The group will meet Wednesday through Saturday at the IP Casino Resort in Biloxi, and the Mississippi Fire Chiefs and Firefighters association also will hold a conference simultaneously.

The Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs is a division if the International Association of Fire Chiefs. The group is comprised of 10 Southeastern states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia — and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The purpose of the annual conference is to provide a forum for fire and emergency service leaders to exchange ideas, develop professionally and to discuss the latest information on current events that are influencing the American fire service. There will also be a vendor show with up to a hundred vendors displaying and demonstrating the latest in firefighting technology.

Biloxi is the only city in the state to hold the Southeastern conference twice, the first conference held in Biloxi was in 2016. Before that, the only other Southeaster conference held in Mississippi was in Jackson in the ’70s.

Boney served on the Southeastern chiefs board as Mississippi director from 2016 to 2019 and currently is the group’s first vice president on the executive board. He will be sworn in at the conference for a one-year term. Boney, who is also southern vice president of the Mississippi Fire Chiefs, is a 37-year veteran of the Biloxi Fire Department and has served as Biloxi fire chief for eight years.

News & notes: Weekly report, market fest, bridge closure

The week that was: Last week, the Fire Department answered 140 calls for service, including 102 medical emergencies and six fires; the Police Department handled 1,783 calls for service and the Community Development Department issued 68 building permits with a construction valuation of more than $650,000. To see the reports covering last week, click here

Market festival: The Charles R. Hegwood Biloxi Community Market, at the corner of Howard Avenue and Hopkins Boulevard, will host a market festival on Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The festival will include market vendors, live entertainment, hourly giveaways and more. To see the festival flier, click here.

Bridge closure: The Popp’s Ferry bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. while contractors make emergency repairs to the bridge. Police will have detours signs posted.