Coast firefighters step up to allow Pascagoula to mourn Capt. Jacob Latch

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:17 PM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - When tragedy strikes, the one thing firefighters always want to do is help.

Several departments joined forces Monday to allow Pascagoula firefighters time to pay their respects.

Pascagoula Fire Department’s personnel and equipment traveled to Gulfport on Monday to escort the body of Capt. Jacob Latch to an Ocean Springs funeral home.

In order for that to happen, firefighters and trucks from five departments came to Pascagoula to cover their shifts.

“We’re doing that for them, taking care of the city of Pascagoula while they’re going to take care of their brother and take care of themselves,” said Ocean Spring Fire Chief Derek McCoy.

Firefighters from Ocean Springs, Jackson County, Gulfport, Gautier and the Combat Readiness Training Center manned Pascagoula’s three stations.

“It’s a community, Coast-wide effort if you will, and it’s just what we do. This is not anything new, this has been done numerous times when tragedies like this occur,” McCoy said.

For McCoy, it was a personal effort. He had known Jacob Latch for many years, as well as his brother, a firefighter in Gautier.

“Jacob was a very stand-up individual. Always had a smile on his face, he would light up the room when he walked in,” McCoy said. “He was a great father to his three kids and I’m sure a great husband to his wife, Katie, and we’re all left here with the memories, and in Jacob’s case, it’s a lot of good memories. And that’s why it’s such a loss and such a tragedy because he was so liked. And that’s why it was so important to make sure that we came over here and allowed all his brothers here at the fire department to be there today when they brought him home.

That brotherhood among firefighters, much like the one created in combat, is a special bond.

“A lot of people don’t really realize that these guys live together a third of their life. It’s unlike any other job on earth, and so when something like that happens, it hits close to you, it really does,” McCoy said.

Visitation will take place from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday at Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home in Ocean Springs. On Wednesday, visitation will begin again at 11 a.m., with a funeral service at noon at Mosaic Church in Ocean Springs.

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