Harrison County

Biloxi homeless shelter needs your help after devastating fire

A Biloxi homeless shelter is in “desperate need of men’s clothing, food and prayers” after a Saturday-morning fire ripped through one of its buildings.

Sean Smith, Gulf Coast Rescue Mission assistant director , said the fire started between 4 and 4:30 a.m. The shelter is at 2750 Mission Lane.

“The fire destroyed our main building, which housed our thrift store, offices, our kitchen and our men’s dormitory,” Smith said. “We had 16 guys in the building but thankfully no one was injured.”

He said the fire was still smoldering some five hours later. The destroyed building was one of seven on the mission’s campus.

Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney said the building was completely engulfed in flames when the first responders arrived.

“It was a defensive attack from the beginning,” Boney said of the fire crews’ strategy for extinguishing the blaze. “We tried to hit it from the inside, but we couldn’t, so we had to do it defensively from the outside.”

Boney said his investigators have not had a chance to start reconstructing the fire because of its size.

“We haven’t started the investigation to determine where the fire started or what may have caused it,” he said.

Gulf Coast Rescue Mission has been operating as a homeless shelter since 1965, Smith said.

“The building was almost a total loss for us,” he said. “But we were able to place the men in other buildings, so we are going to be OK, but we need some clothes and food because we can’t even operate our kitchen and we have some people who didn’t have much to begin with who have now lost everything.”

Food, clothes and other donated items can be taken to the shelter at 1275 Mission Lane in Biloxi. For more information, call 228-388-3884.