Fire destroys Gulf Coast Rescue Mission

Fire destroys Gulf Coast Rescue Mission

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - For the second time in 10 years, a local homeless shelter has lost everything.

Residents of the Gulf Coast Rescue Mission were awakened early Saturday morning by flames engulfing their home.

"Well, I had woken up, had come up to the office to take my medication before I got started on my shift about 4:30," said shelter resident Jimmy Brown. "I just happened to turn to my left and saw that corner of the building was on fire."

Biloxi Fire Department responded to the mission around 4:30 a.m. All 16 occupants were evacuated safely, but for those who already have so little, the loss is devastating.

"This is everything. This is our home, this is my home, the director's home. A lot of these guys here call this home," said assistant director Sean Smith.

It's not the first time the 50-year-old shelter has had to deal with tragedy. A year after Katrina ravaged the Coast, a fire gutted the building.

Despite the destruction, residents are hopeful.

"We've gone through hurricanes and a fire in the past, and we've come back and we will from this. We will. God will be in this with us," said Mike Forrest, shelter resident.

The displaced residents are temporarily being housed in the shelter's chapel.

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