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Pass firefighters tired, humbled after recovery work in Louisiana

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 4:59 PM CDT
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PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (WLOX) - Pass Christian firefighters experienced the devastation in Louisiana up close after Hurricane Ida.

After 14 days of sweat and smoke, the gear needs unpacking and lots of cleaning, and bodies need time to rest.

“Really, as soon as got there, we kind of hit the ground running,” said firefighter Jeff Klemmer. “We starting delivering ice because the power outages had been going on throughout the whole area. So, people were without power, water, essentials for probably about five or six days at that point.”

And the desperation was clear.

“You know, it’s 100 degrees outside with the humidity,” said firefighter B.J. Ledet. “So, the appreciation of everybody that was just coming up to get that bag of ice. Something as simple as a bag of ice meant the world to those people.”

And, that was just the beginning. As the power began to come on, those who thought they made it through had a shock.

“Right in the middle of all that, we caught a structure fire, a house fire,” Klemmer said. “So, we’d been there for about two hours at that point got a fire.”

The crew also had to help put out a car fire as well.

“It just kept that tempo throughout,” Klemmer added. “So, there really was no time to sit back and rest. You were always sort of listening and waiting for the next call to go out.”

The three-man crew was based in Harvey, LA., and served the surrounding areas in Jefferson Parish.

“Hopefully, it will never happen to us again,” said Chief Dwight Gordon. “But, by us doing this, it feel like you’re paying it forward. Even, actually, we’re paying it back. ... The fact that we are able to help our neighbors, it meant something.”

Ledet said the experience was a good investment for the future.

“I know our day’s to come,” he said. “We don’t like to think about that kind of stuff. But we live on the Gulf Coast. And it’s going to come again. And we just hope we can make those connections. And, you know, maybe one day those guys that we were helping out, that community is going to think about Pass Christian when our time comes.”

Chief Gordon said there have been no other requests for assistance, but his department stands ready to deploy again if needed.

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