BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Firefighters answer the call no matter what and here in the Panhandle, we know that to be true.
Over the last few years, agencies from all over the state have helped us during Hurricane Michael, the Mussett Bayou fire and the most recent Chipola Complex fires.
Fire officials from Jacksonville said it doesn’t matter what they’re doing or where they’re doing it, they’re always ready to answer the call.
“Given the opportunity to do that, God willing we’re coming,” JFRD District Chief Trevor Hyre said.
Hyre said answering the call means picking up the phone and being ready to work.
“It doesn’t matter where the emergency incident is,” Hyre said. “We’re a brotherhood. We’re coming to help, we love to help, we love to work whether we’re in town or we’re out of town, we’re going to help wherever we’re at.”
This isn’t the first time the Jacksonville Strike team has lent a helping hand to the Panhandle. Several members of this team were also here after Hurricane Michael and the Musset Bayou fire.
“If the call comes out help, the City of Jacksonville, the mayor of Jacksonville, the fire chief they are – they bend over backwards to make sure we get the equipment out there and help them just as fast as we can and that’s what we’re here to do now,” Hyre said.
Bay County officials said these firefighters have a multitude of skillsets so even if they’re not necessarily fighting a fire, there’s still plenty of ways they’re helping out.
“They’re forklift drivers, things that right now we’d be bringing firefighters off duty that we would like for them to get some rest and kind of recuperate until the fires start coming back after a couple of days, they have the ability to step up and help us with that,” Bay County Emergency Management Division Chief, Frankie Lumm said.
Lumm said the extra help gives them a boost to keep fighting.
“To see the outpouring of agencies that responded here and then having Jacksonville come time, and time and time again honestly it gives you a little boost,” Lumm said. “It puts a little energy in your step. You fight fires for 3, 4 days in a row you’re not sure how you’re gonna do it and you see those guys come rolling in and honestly it gives you a little bit more energy.”
Several agencies in addition to Jacksonville that were here after Hurricane Michael also returned.
Lumm said they told some of the agencies to stop by Lynn Haven and Mexico Beach to see the progress for themselves.