BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It was one of the worst tragedies to hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2017. A train slammed into a charter bus stuck on the tracks in Biloxi killing four of its occupants and injuring dozens of others. That was back in March, and the ramifications of the accident can still be seen.
The sights and sounds from that horrible day in March are likely to never leave the men and women first on the scene.
"This one was bigger than any we've ever had, but having the background and knowledge, it made things a little easier," said Major Chris DeBack with the Biloxi Police Department.
Biloxi's police and fire departments worked together with different agencies from all around the area in the chaotic aftermath. Fire Chief Joe Boney said it's extensive training that paid off in the minutes and hours of response.
"We try to incorporate a lot of the things that we incorporated here. A lot of it is medical training. A lot of it is extraction," said Boney.
Boney said in the months since the horrific accident, his department has reviewed each step the firefighters took. An area that he said could use some improvement was the system by which the department identifies injury urgency, called triage.
"We don't do that very often on that scale and we found some minor issues with that. As far as the response and the way we handled it, I don't think we could have done any better," said Boney.
DeBack said incidents like the one in March give validity to how much time is spent preparing.
"We always know that we train for a reason, but seeing that training actually coming forward, and the different agencies coming together and how well everybody worked together was just incredible," said DeBack.
According to Chief Boney, it's that teamwork and preparation that helped emergency personnel focus on bringing comfort and safety to a worst-case scenario.
"They were our visitors and we treat them just like we do our citizens. We give them the best treatment and care that we can," he said.