South Mississippi firefighters praying for Texas comrades

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - The explosion at the fertilizer plant in Texas is hitting close to home once again. Firefighters in South Mississippi are keeping close tabs on their comrades in Texas who rushed into the plant to rescue the injured. Some of those firefighters are still missing.

For coast firefighters, it's a reminder about the dangers of the job.

"Something like that could happen locally here, you know, where you have that same problem wondering whether or not someone is coming home or not," said Chief Jeff Ponson with the Ocean Springs Fire Department.

News of the explosion left a somber mood in the firehouse and for fireman Brad Chennault.

"You never want to hear anything that happens like this, especially when it comes to firefighters," Chennault said.  "This is a brotherhood and our hearts and our prayers go out to all the family members that are lost at this time."

The mood is the same at the D'Iberville Fire Department and for Fire Chief Gerald Smith.

"It's really a tragedy. Hopefully, it could have been something that could have been avoided and can be avoided in the future. But these things happen and communities just need to be prepared for it," Smith said.

Even though all these firefighters undergo intensive training, designed to protect them in situations like this, the explosion in Texas at the fertilizer plant was so massive, so big and dangerous, you never know what you're walking into.

"It's extremely dangerous," D'Iberville firefighter Chris Holland. "We all take classes at the academy and stuff, but nothing can really prepare you for when it actually happens."

Philip Dees with the Ocean Springs Fire Department agreed.

"Obviously, when homes were leveled, that just gives some measurement. The toxicity levels of chemicals in the air, the plumes, it can be inhalants, could be fires, it could be obviously the explosions could still be happening. You just never know what you're going into with that," Dees said.

The memory of this tragedy won't be going away for fireman Austin Graham.

"You'll never forget about it. Basically, what we take from it is we'll come back and say, 'This could this happen to us and if so, what can we do to prevent this from happening to us?'"

All the firefighters we talked with today say they'll continue to monitor the situation and offer any help they can, if it's needed.

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