Almost 24 hours have gone by since witnessing the destruction of someone’s livelihood. We aren’t insensitive to the fact, that the images you will see below are the visual documentation of someone’s worst day of their life.
However, in the quiet moments, watching the fire, sitting beside the owner, small chit-chat as he watched what was happening, you could see so much.
In that moment you could see an understanding of what was happening, yet not understanding how.
You could see brave firefighters, completely outmatched by the flames, fighting with everything they could.
The scene played out, once organized as a well directed play. Pumper two arrived and ran two lines, remaining as the pumper for the whole event. Tanker 1, set up a pool, where they could drop their water, then left.
Pumper four arrived moments later, put the outriggers out to the side and prepared to use the aerial, however that wasn’t done till much later in the battle.
In a cycle, Tanker one, then Pumper one, then pumper three would drop water off, go to a nearby hydrant, first ARCH, then Conner and Goulais, finally settling on a main line in front of Korah Collegiate to fill up, and come back, over and over and over.
You watched as two lines, manned by 2-4 firefighters, dropped water on flames sometimes 80 feet taller than the men, who looked on with determination.
When you are in among the firefighters, snapping in this case, over 500 images and multiple minutes of video, the gravity of the moment you are in, is not easily grasped.
In the span of 3 hours on scene, I witnessed, fear, relief, bravery and pride. However what I realized as 2 a.m. came along and the aerial was raised, looking at everything, the biggest thing seen was devastation.
These have been the ramblings of a chase journalist, someone who brings a community breaking news, wherever it leads.
Above is the video of just over 70 still images, in the next few days, we will also release a full motion video as photos will never completely do justice to what happened that night.