BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - An overnight fire at Port City Restaurant in Biloxi forced the business to close Thursday due to extensive damage. But the effects of that fire were felt by more than just hungry patrons.
S W Medical Inc Family Practice is located in the rear of the building that houses Port City. When the clinic's owner, Liz Metcalf, arrived for work Thursday morning, the smell of smoke inside the office was almost unbearable. That smoke damage, along with a loss of electricity, forced Metcalf and her staff to make a quick decision.
"A lot of these patients simply need their medications. And so the staff decided that we needed to see them, so we set up fans and a tent," Metcalf said.
That tent, along with about 20 chairs, was set up in the parking lot behind the clinic, so that the more than five dozen patients with scheduled appointments would not be turned away. Metcalf and the rest of the staff got on their cell phones and called each patient to let them know, if they needed to be seen, they would be.
Even after the power was restored to the building, doctors advised Metcalf not to allow patients inside because of the heavy odor of smoke.
Seeing patients outside offered unique challenges, such as no computers to search for records. The heat was another issue.
"It [the heat] began to be a concern so we got fans out there, trying to keep everybody cool. We quickly got cold bottles of water," said Metcalf.
These issues are not new to the staff at S W Medical.
"We learned from Katrina. You know, after Katrina we had to see some patients who simply couldn't wait," said Metcalf.
Port City employees say the cause of the fire is still unknown, but crews will begin to process of cleaning up as soon as the fire inspection is complete. The restaurant is expected to reopen next week.