Residents Warned About Returning To Devastated Homes - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/12/05

Residents Warned About Returning To Devastated Homes

Beginning Tuesday morning at 8, Pass Christian citizens who live west of Fleitas Avenue, now called zone 1, will be allowed back to their property.

Chief Administrative Officer Malcolm Jones says, "I know a lot of people have been upset cause they can't get into town. The thing is until last night we had teams in our town doing recovery of deceased persons. They finished last night and they've turned it back over to us. Up until yesterday, we still has gas leaks in town in great numbers, great numbers. Hopefully most of those gas leaks have now been corrected."

With those dangers eased somewhat, it will be the first time since the hurricane the devastated spots will open and there will be strict rules.

"This is not a place for people to go with small children. It is not a place for people to go if they're not gonna be aware. They cannot go without appropriate clothing, long pants, heavy boots. If you get in here and don't follow the rules, you'll be arrested and taken out. You'll be allowed to go into those restricted areas beginning at eight with proper identification. You gotta come out by four. We will make sweeps after four and if you're in there, the police will take appropriate action," Jones said.

No building inspectors have checked out the area west of Fleitas to determine which, if any, structures are safe. That's why the city stresses that people will venture into the rubble at their own risk. And no one will be allowed to live there until the city okays it and utilities are fully restored.

"This is a time that people have to realize that we have to protect, and some ways we're gonna have to protect people from themselves," Jones says.

People like Mary Anne Smith and Jerald Williams are willing to do anything to get to their home on Lemoyne Road. He has seen the house. She hasn't.

"I finally came back to my house and it's just kinda pushed over. Everything's still there and the house is about four feet shorter. Mary Anne hasn't seen it so we would like to see just what we can get out cause it's gone," says Williams.

Smith says, "From what Jerald has said and other people there is probably something to be gotten out of the house, but I know it's gone. It's real heartbreaking cause we built a home there and a lot of friends, and we know all of our neighbors. That's probably the hardest part cause their houses are all gone."

Like so many others in Pass Christian, Smith and Williams don't know what their future holds. They will just try to salvage anything they can of the life they used to love in this town.

The 8 to 4 hours in the devastated areas will remain in effect until next Monday. That's when the city aldermen will meet again and decide if changes are needed.

byMarcia Hill

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