Gulf Coast firefighters pay it forward in Petal

Gulf Coast firefighters pay it forward in Petal
First responders from the Gulf Coast were in the Pine Belt helping some of their own cleanup after the deadly January tornado./Photo credit: WDAM

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - First responders from the Gulf Coast were in the Pine Belt helping some of their own cleanup after the deadly January tornado.

"We're clearing property, we brought some heavy equipment up and we're working on some of the first responders homes in the area," Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney said.

The firefighters focused on a home along Herrington Road in Petal on Tuesday, which is the home of a former police chief, according to Boney.

"We got treated very well after Katrina, we worked 15 to 18 days straight and we weren't able to go to our homes after the storm and take care of our homes," Boney said. "We had firefighters from all over the country came around and helped us, and worked on our homes while we couldn't."

Boney said they are here to pay it forward, and give back to the ones who helped them in their time of need.

"We are paying it forward to the first responders," said John Polito, Independence Louisiana fire chief. "(It) means a lot to help others, being a firefighter, a first responder, I think, is a noble calling to help others, and that's what I like about this job."

Polito said he and Boney have been friends for years and getting a crew together is something they often do to help those in need.

"It's important to let these people know that they are not alone and they're not by their self in this disaster, you know, there are a lot of people out there thinking about them and willing to come and help," Boney said.

Once they handle their mission in taking care of the first responders, Boney said they will transition to other homes in the area.