My husband and two sons are volunteer firefighters. I don’t stick around for wrecks; I drop off the boys and get out of the way. It’s not unusual for me to stay and photograph a fire, but I just really liked the photos I got today. More people and less documentary.
My heart has been very heavy with cares for friends the last week or so. I haven’t been as focused as I should be. Today had been very productive and my chicken dinner was in the oven on time. I was helping my oldest study for his SAT when the tones dropped. “To the attention of Chisholm Trail Fire Rescue: please respond to —– High Rd. for a grass fire. Multiple structures in danger. Time-out 17:38.” Hoo-whee! Both boys jumped into their boots and grabbed their gear while I grabbed my bunker-flops (what they call my firefighting sandals) and my camera, and we met in the Suburban.
As we drove (probably a little too fast) down the road, I heard the positions of the various trucks responding to the call. 5:30 is a great time for a volunteer fire dept. People are in district and available. We were instructed to “go direct”, since all brush trucks were enroute and they needed extra hands to man them.
My boys ran to get on trucks –
They went in and I lost them in smoke. But then – probably the best shot of my career opened up. Both my boys, facing me, in the thick of the action.
That’s Jon on the right, Dave on the left – both have hoses. Dave has the headset to communicate with the driver. You can’t see him, but Tim’s driving.
Jon and Dave are actually on the secondary truck in the right rear. That appears to be Shelby, with her dad driving, at the hose. The only structure lost today was this brand new shed, which had not withstood its first wind earlier in the week. It sure took a lot of work to put out.
Then I saw the perfect calendar shot –
They came around to where I was. The lot I was standing on was green, but the fenceposts and grass at the edge of “the black” were smoldering quite a bit. Dave and Matt needed to douse all that.
I’m not sure how I got the next shot – I was a ways away, and I didn’t crop it. When I’m out in the sun, I can’t see the display on my camera. I just point, shoot, and hope for the best. Mark is at the helm, with his daughter Shelby on back with the hose.
One of Asst. Chief Craig –
And my buddy Capt. Jeffro with Dave, when all was said and done.
I didn’t need a keyboard; I needed people. Actual, physical contact and conversation. I reassured a frightened widow that she is safe. I let a young, excited man tell me all he knew about the fire and how he’d stopped it from coming into the widow’s yard when he thought I was from the media. I drove fast with the windows down and got to use my camera. I enjoyed some banter with several firefighters and then came home to really crispy chicken.
I feel peaceful and relaxed.