Monday, February 14, 2011

I missed the flames but got the real story of the fire

Right off the bat today fire tones rang out over the newsroom from the police scanner. An attic fire. I grabbed my gear and headed out the door.

As I approached the house a lot of smoke was billowing out but flames were nowhere to be seen. As I neared the firetrucks a few flames sprouted from the roof but they only lasted a couple seconds before being doused for good. 

The fire was under control and the opportunity for great action shots had all but passed. 

I watched the firefighters go in and out of the house carrying charred pieces of wood, wall insulation. A firefighter came out carrying some family photos and I knew it was the best thing I was going to get. I shot the photos and waited for him to return to the house with a second load.

I noticed the homeowner and her daughter talking to the firefighters and pointing at the closed garage door. They opened it and the firefighters rushed in as a wave of thick smoke wafted out. 

Expecting to see flames I raised my camera and waited. What I got was more powerful than fire. The firefighters came out carrying two small dogs, one dangling lifeless. 

The firefighters came running to where I was standing, the dog was foaming from the mouth. They got on their knees next to an EMT and got to work, giving the dog oxygen with a mask meant for a person. 

In all the fires I have photographed I have rarely seen anything so compelling and I captured every second of it. I have shots of the dogs being brought out and shots of the dog surrounded by emergency crews, but one shot, after the dog had been stabilized, told the whole story.

*Click photo to enlarge*
Camera: Nikon D3s. Lens: Nikkor 17-35mm. 1/250th of a sec. @f/3.2, ISO 400.


  1. this photo is awesome. i like the girl in the backround covering her mouth, kinda shows what the situation was like if someone were to have been there.

  2. You're absolutely right. These are people to be admired, respected and revered. It takes a very special breed that dedicates itself to a life of saving lives.