Help! Biloxians headed to Florence-devastated community

The volunteers from the Biloxi fire museum and Biloxi Fire Department have traditionally gone into disaster zones weeks after a disaster to help typically overwhelmed first responders care for their own damaged property.

And with Hurricane Florence, which swamped communities along the east coast, the Biloxi volunteers have apparently found the neediest of the needy: a small unincorporated community known as Northeast, with about 2,000 residents.

“Of the 30 firefighters, 25 of them lost their homes,” said Assistant Fire Chief Lee Graham of Warsaw, a community about 15 minutes from Northeast. “The entire Northeast community is devastated. Floodwaters reached the tops of houses, and most everyone is displaced.

“We had some flash flooding and some suffering here in Warsaw, but we are taking a stance to help these people in Northeast.”

In fact, the North Carolina Firefighters Association issued a call for assistance for the Northeast and Warsaw fire departments: “The areas served by both departments are heavily damaged by the floods from Florence. While the members were serving their communities they could not protect their own homes.”

And that’s the call being answered by Biloxi volunteers from West End Hose Co. No. 3 and the Biloxi Fire Department. 

“A crew of six to eight will be leaving Biloxi Monday morning at 5 a.m. and drive 11 hours to Warsaw,” Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney said. “We will link up with our partners from New Sharon, Iowa who plan to have a six-man crew who will drive over on Sunday.”

Boney said the Biloxi and New Sharon crews will work out of the Warsaw Fire Department for six 10-hour days.

“Our primary mission is to assist first responders gut-out or repair their homes that were damaged by the hurricane,” Boney said. “They have already started a list of recipients and I’m told the list is growing by the hour. We are not limited to first responders. We will assist anyone in the stricken area, but our focus will be on the first responders. We plan to split into two teams who will work 10 hour days. The fire museum disaster fund will pay for all travel, food and living arrangements, but we are asking the people of Biloxi for help. We will be renting a piece of equipment that cost about $1,500 a week that will enable us to remove trees and other debris. We need money to help pay for that. We don’t need any clothing or other relief supplies.

“We’re looking for donations or money or Walmart, Lowe’s or Home Depot gift cards, and we’re asking people to make those donations either online or at any Biloxi fire station.”
Make an online donation to the Biloxi effort


News & notes: City Council, special needs dance

City Council:  The Biloxi City Council will hold its last meeting of the month this afternoon at 1:30 at Biloxi City Hall.  To see the agenda and supporting documents, click here.  To see recordings of previous meetings, click here.

Cruise Into Fall dance:  The Biloxi Parks & Recreation Department will host its annual Cruise Into Fall Special Needs Dance Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Donal M. Snyder Sr. Community Center.  The event is free and open to all ages with physical and mental disabilities.  To see the flyer, click here