LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - In the years following Katrina, as recovery continues, residents coastwide have learned that each new building is more than just brick and mortar.
Long Beach celebrated another milestone with the opening of its new Fire Station 2.
"It makes me proud because I know we go from station to station, city to city, and we celebrate everybody being able to recover and rebuild, and it's just a brotherhood of fire fighters that we want to help one another," said Long Beach Fire Chief George Bass.
"It's an example of good leadership. And, we've got good leadership on the Gulf Coast. It makes you feel good when they come back. They're resilient, they've hitched up their pants and done the work that needs to be done," said State Fire Marshal and Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney.
Fire Station 2 was built with lessons from the past, preparing for the future. It's rated to withstand 200 mile per hour winds, and house first responders long term in the event of an emergency.
"We've got a place we can live. We've got fresh water, we've got sewer, we've got a generator back up, we've got ample room to grow into. It just means the world to us," said Bass.
"It's just outstanding. It's a safety issue, a safety through a storm event. Your first responders being right here in the generally affected area, working, it's something we never thought we'd have," said Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie.
The building has nine sleeping quarters, showers, a conference room, full kitchen and more.
"It's a necessity to have those things. First responders, everybody should leave and evacuate during a storm. First responders come in and buckle down. We need those little comfort to come and be able to get a shower and a few hours rest," said Bass.
The new building was funded through a mix of FEMA funds, hazard mitigation money and MDA funds. The chief said it was designed with Chicago fire stations in mind.