Vicksburg, Warren County firefighters prepare for possible service in Louisiana

Published 3:35 pm Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Vicksburg and Warren County firefighters could possibly be heading to South Louisiana to assist firefighters there as their communities recover from the effects of Hurricane Ida, which raked the area Sunday and Monday.

“We have a list of names of people who are willing to go down to South Louisiana and help,” said Vicksburg Fire Chief Craig Danczyk, who is working on the process with Warren County Fire Coordinator Jerry Briggs. “We are preparing to send people, but it’s a process and we will have to get (state) approval and then approval on the local level.”

Danczyk said they are in the process of completing the paperwork to allow firefighters to go if they are needed. He said the information will be sent to the Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s Office, which will contact local officials and then send the paperwork to Louisiana officials. Presently, there is a hold on sending manpower, according to information from the Fire Marshal’s office.

If the firefighters are allowed to provide aid to their fellow firefighters in South Louisiana, Danczyk said he would like to see a team sent to Louisiana to work for a period of time and then rotate out with another team.

He said, however, the city’s and the county’s protection comes first.

“We also want to provide those services to Warren County,” he said. “We are going to put Warren County first, and on fire rescue and ambulance we’re going to make sure we have more than adequate service for our local residents and we will send a small group that collectively will work with other small groups.”

Danczyk said the firefighters who go to South Louisiana would fill in for firefighters who are trying to recover from damage to their homes and communities.

Recalling his experience when he helped firefighters in Gulfport and Bay St. Louis after Hurricane Katrina, he said when they weren’t responding to fire and rescue calls firefighters did community service work like helping to unload supplies and helped locate gas leaks when utilities were restored.

“Some departments may send equipment,” Danczyk said. “Our biggest asset is manpower. We have a large diverse workforce; we have a lot of different skill sets. We have 100 employees so I think we can build a team of small groups to send down there with the skill sets to help in these hard times.

“South Louisiana has been devastated and there’s a lot of need and I know there’s a lot of help coming from different directions,” Danczyk said. “I know the National Guard has been deployed so I know there’s a lot of help coming.

“I think the need is very large in South Louisiana and Vicksburg is just one community that is willing to help and it’s just not the fire department; there’s Warren County fire and other agencies. We will see what happens.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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