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Another House Fire

Discussion in 'Photojournalism, Candids and Street Photography' started by EdMac, Apr 8, 2005.

  1. I was out with the fire company on a house fire today. Here are a couple of shots that I took during the fire. Unfortunately the house was lost, but no one was hurt. I used my D100 and my trusty 28-105 f 3.5-4.5 lens.
    Here is the sequence
    This is the house as I arrived on the scene

    This is a closer look at the back of the house

    In this picture the firemen are attempting to ventilate the attic to prevent the fire from flashing.


    In the nexrt picture, the firemen were trying to ventilate the front section of the roof, and it became too dangerous. Here they are being called off the roof.


    I hope that you have enjoyed my pictures[/img]
  2. dkapp


    Mar 18, 2005
    San Francisco
    Awesome series that shows the action in the life of a firefighter.

    The last shot is great & I bet the department would love a copy. I would suggest a tighter crop to focus on the smoke & firefighters.

    Here's my take on it. If you want me to take it down, I will.


  3. House Fire

    Hi Dave,
    Thank you for your comments and suggestions. I am a firefighter with the department, and my job is photographer. I have gotten to the age where I can't fight fires anymore, so they have asked me to be the company photographer.

    Your point is well taken in suggesting a tighter crop, and I will do that in my copy to the company. My purpose in this picture was to show the firemen escaping from the dangerous situation. All of my pictures become part of a slide show that we use at fire company affairs like fire prevention week, and training. Many times my pictures identify safety situations that the officers use to help prevent future problems. In this case, these are 4 of a series of about 60 pictures that I took of this fire scene.
    Thank you again for your suggestion, and have a nice day.
  4. Nice shots Ed. Truely sad to see someone's home get destroyed. :cry:  :cry: 
  5. House Fire

    Hi Bryan,

    I agree, but I am always glad when no one is injured. Thanks for your comments. :) 
  6. Another good series Ed...I agree with Dave, that with the tighter crop on that last shot you really have an outstanding image!
  7. OH YES!! That is first and the most important!!
  8. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Thank You Ed,

    I always love you images of the fires you shoot. You do a great job.

    Yes those firemaen have a very dangerous job.
  9. House Fire

    Hi Janet,
    Thank you for your comments. This was a stubborn fire. It is an old house with a second roof over the back section. The fire got in between the roofs, and was difficult for the firemen to get to. It made for a long day. Dave's suggestion was a good one. I guess that I was just tired when I processed the pictures, and I didn't notice wires and pole off to the right.
  10. House Fire

    Amen :) 
  11. House Fire

    Hi Gale,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. It can be a dangerous job. We were lucky that this fire didn't flash over. God sometimes looks over our shoulders. :) 
  12. Excellent images Ed. I too am glad no one was injured in the fire. The fireman are couragous and you have captured them well.
  13. House Fire

    Hi Gordon,
    Thanks for your comments. You are so right. We have recently had a couple of occassions where we had to remove the firemen from dangerous situations on an emergency basis. In that last picture it was only a couple of minutes later that very dark smoke ( indicating fire) was coming out of that front soffet. There are times that I am happy to be too old to do that stuff anymore. :) 
  14. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Re: House Fire

    Ed :

    Know what you mean...

    I was at a large flea market/fair at a town in west Texas today when the relief on a propane cylinder let loose at a food stand due to, IMO, excessive heat impinging on the cylinder. Fortunately, there were volunteer firefighters at the fair and the response time from the station was short.

    I was about to start shooting photos of the suppression effort when I realised that the firefighters were in close hitting a nearby grease fire and weren't adequately cooling the several bottles that were venting. Just as I spotted this, a colleague who works in safety and firefighting walked up, equally aghast.

    By the time my colleague and I'd talked to the chief and the sheriff about this as well getting a safe zone for the bystanders established (can you say, BLEVE ?), then started to get the crowds moved back a block, I missed the chance to shoot any photographs of the fire !!! Only minor injuries for a couple of bystanders when the LPG flashed, thank goodness.

    The sheriff and I were talking after the cylinders had been vented down, exchanging thoughts, and observing that it's interesting that the people running away are the prudent ones, while wondering what we were doing running towards the fire when we saw it.

    Funny world.

    John P.
  15. Propane

    Hi John,

    Thanks for your comments.

    New Jersey is getting very strict about training for volunteers, but it is never enough. One problem is that you never know what mix of people will be responding, because thay all have other jobs. One of the reasons that I have been asked to document the scene is to help spot safety violations. It is by it's nature a very unsafe business to be involved in.
  16. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Re: Propane

    Ed :

    Yah, the issues of training for volunteer and composite departments are many and varied. Some people get the pants scared off of them when they see the video on BLEVEs, while others don't have the proper respect for the enormity of the scenario. Some have little training or in some cases, erroneous training, such as believing that the tank only explodes "from the ends". One rather sad case occurred in Iowa in '98 with two firefighters dead and seven injured (for a fairly solid investigation report and summary on this, see : http://www.csb.gov/index.cfm?folder=completed_investigations&page=info&INV_ID=31 )

    In this case, once the overall fire was (mostly) knocked down, one eager lad was keen to go in and "close the valve" on one of the propane cylinders as well as putting out the fire on the relief vent (which usually can't be "closed" when the relief plug has melted). My colleague and I were a bit astonished, and counseled letting the cylinder fire burn while keeping the cylinder cool with a water stream, as they didn't have the gear to address this properly, let alone deal with a vapour cloud in the area.

    In addition, of course, we'd also been more than a little concerned about a BLEVE on one of the adjacent cylinders where the fire had been impinging. Back when I was investigating this sort of thing, I measured a large fragment of maybe eight or ten pounds weight from a 100 lb cylinder firing off about 300 feet plus when the cylinder BLEVE'd, so my colleague and I were more than a little forceful in our comments with the county sheriff about clearing the immediate area of the hundreds of people who wanted to watch closely.

    I won't discuss the amount (or lack) of turnout gear present.

    And all I thought I'd be doing after this started was shooting some photos of the fire suppression in a town a long way from home ! Which brings us back to the question about some people running towards a fire...

    John P.
  17. Fire

    Hi John,

    I have been very fortunate in my fire fighting career to have not encountered too many tank fires. The closest I ever came was a fuel truck with an engine compartment fire. I very clearly remember being there hosing down the tank while others fought the engine fire. That was close enough for me. I remember my training to not try and put a vent fire out because of the escaping fumes or gases, and the possibility of a flash over or explosion. I also remember the City of Philadelphia losing a bunch of guys at a refinery fire. They had used foam, but the gasoline vapors flashed on them.

    Our company has become very safety conscious. At least two of our nearby companies have lost men recently( past couple of years). Both were in house fires. In one case the accident was attributable to a lack of training. In our outfit SCBA and full turnout gear is a must. Training and drills are always ongoing. One of my jobs is to photograph any fireman on the fire ground with out proper gear.

    I guess there are some of us that run toward the fire, but now it makes you think of those guys at FDNY and the twin towers.

    Have a great day
  18. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Re: Fire

    Ed :

    There are so many aspects to this business. I work predominately with industrial facilities now (e.g., refineries, chemical plants, food facilities), but I started my career in fire and explosion investigation. After a reasonable period of that, I decided that I wanted to prevent the accidents instead of informing families.

    And keeping up with the evolving issues for the fire service isn't an easy task.

    Have a look at that URL and the materials I referenced in the last post. It's sobering and important material for any fire company to see and read. If I ever get out to your part of Jersey, maybe we can exchange some material.

    And notwithstanding everything that's happened, I still run towards fires. I suppose it's part of who I am now.

    John P.
  19. jgrove


    Apr 13, 2005
    Re: Propane


    Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapour Explosion

    Er gees there i go again, i am a fulltime firefighter in the UK. Photography is something i do between shifts, i also do 2nd photographer work at sports events.
  20. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Re: Propane

    James :

    Exactemente !

    In fact, it was in the UK that I learned about BLEVEs doing my post-graduate work.

    John P.
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