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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

From Ice to Fire

We had a snow storm, in March of all godforsaken months to have a snow storm, just as everyone is utterly fed up with every aspect of winter possible.  Fortunately in my new neck of the woods, in the center part of the state, we didn't receive the THREE FEET of snow that fell where we used to live.  Instead we received ice.  Beautiful, but tree crushing ice.  

Since it had been forever since I last drove around taking photos I asked Shawn if he wanted to hop in the truck and take photos with me.  Taking photos with me actually means him driving me all over God's creation while I suddenly yell "pull over here!" and then sitting in the truck while I gallivant across roads and fields for several minutes.  Normally he doesn't agree to since its not much fun for him, but this time he decided he wanted to see all the ice around town, too.  

Tree branches lined the roadways and people's yards as we drove through the hard hit areas that were much higher in elevation than our home.  Just after I snapped a few photos of this barn the clouds broke and the sun shone in a brightening madness.  The landscape was too blinding for my camera amidst the glistening ice so I surrendered to good conversation and gawking with Shawn.

Just as we completed our enormous loop of back roads and were about to return home the fire department pager opened and the dispatcher announced "Station 1, Station 2, structure fire".  At that exact moment we were less than half a mile from the station and a minute later were pulling into the parking lot before the first engine and duty crew even head out the door.

Shawn parked the truck and jumped out, heading into the station.  I grabbed my camera and followed, unsure what I was going to do.  Sit at the station?  Drive home?  Drive myself to the fire to take some photos?  Then Shawn and another firefighter yelled over to me as I stood on the station tarmac "Get in the ladder!"

Wait, what?  Get on the ladder? 

You want me to actually ride to the fire scene on a fire engine with you guys?


I rushed over to the ladder, climbed in the back, buckled my seatbelt, and headed to the fire with my husband and two officers.  Since we moved it was the first time I've been on a fire truck.  I am not currently on a fire department anymore since there are no volunteer departments near our home and the pregnancy only complicates things.  A rush of nostalgia surged through me as we drove past bent over icy trees and through traffic blaring the air horn. 

When we arrived at the fire scene my husband hopped out and connected a huge hose to a hydrant encased in ice in a speed that amazed me.  Once the hose was connected the fire engine rounded a corner, dropping a neat line of hose behind it as it went, and then pulled up to where the fire was. Actually... it wasn't even much of a fire, but that didn't matter. 

My camera and I stayed well back fro the actual source of fire.  Besides not wanting to get in the way and not having appropriate fire gear,  the guys are very wary of a pregnant woman near any sort of fire and smoke.  Not that I blame them.  So, I stood there, away from the action, content in my bright yellow vest with "FIRE" written across the back that designated my photographing as part of the department rather than a looky-loo or press member that could be ushered away. 

It is becoming apparent and accepted that I am a designated department photographer.  I don't mind.  If I can't fight fire with them I can at least photograph them! 

At least the next time I ask Shawn if he wants to drive around and take photos with me maybe he will be more eager since this drive ended with us making the second due engine and fighting fire.  Had he stayed at home he wouldn't have been there in time and only covered the station.  Its funny how one thing is connected to another. 


MarieElizabeth said...

Great shots - and timing!

Misty Dawn said...

You're the best pregnant fire-department-photographer EVAH! hehe

The Wife of a Dairyman said...

What a rush! I think it's perfect to be the department photographer:)

Rachel Roushey said...

So glad they let you ride along and that even though you can't put on the suit and put out the fire, you were able to get some good photos for the department! You'll be back out there before you know it.

jessica @confessions of a juggler said...

I'm not a firefighter and never was. But I was always very excited when I got to ride on the truck to a fire with my (ex)husband. Even if the fire was nothing big I always thought it was so cool.

Mel said...

I think official station photographer is the perfect job. There to see the action, but not in danger. Plus I have seen the awesome shots you have gotten. Smoke really does make for great photos.

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