Charlottesville Fire Chief Reports From Mississippi

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

September 5, 2005

Charlottesville residents are giving goods and supplies, but others are giving their time and service for the Katrina Relief efforts.

One firefighter is opening up lines of communication that have been shut down since the storm ended.

The Charlottesville Fire Department sent a satellite truck so rescue workers can have a command post with internet and phone access.

"We're providing a vital service for the communications of this command center to get out to the world. There's no phone service in [this part of] Mississippi right now other than sporadic cellular service," said Charlottesville Battalion Chief Bill Purcell.

Chief Purcell helped set-up another command post as well and says this equipment is in high demand all over the region.

"This gives the command post a direct line out of here so they can call for things and they can discuss things with folks out of this region," Purcell said.

Chief Purcell is in Hancock County Mississippi about a mile from the beach and says he's already seen improvements.

"They have had this terrible tragedy, but they are helping each other, they are intense...What we are really worried about and we are trying to get them back in service and trying to get them back in some kind of shape so that they can get on with their lives. That's the important part," said Purcell.

Chief Purcell said in Hancock County there is tremendous military and police presence. He has already seen the clean-up beginning with clearing the roads and moving necessary traffic. This command post is using a phone service out of Tampa, Florida to initiate communication.

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