It was about 10ish years ago, but I remember it rather clearly. I was sitting in my room with headphones on (quite loudly) and I could still hear these thumps. It was probably more “felt.” With the music off and standing on the back porch, the remote wail of sirens filled the evening. The thumps continued.
So, my father and I piled in the van and drove through neighborhoods around us trying to see what happened.
Through the trees we saw the sky glowing, but the color was coming from the ground. As we rounded the K-Mart, we saw what was causing the commotion. There was a blaze we could feel from a quarter mile away. Jets of fire were shooting 50 or 60 feet into the air.
Clearly there was too much hullabaloo for us to really understand what happened, but from the crowd that had gathered, we deduced that a shop owned by a hydroplane boat racer had caught fire. We tried to get closer but were dutifully turned back. The following day, we found out that the tanks of racing fuel had somehow combusted and compromised the acetylene equipment. When I walked down to see the building, I saw that an entire wall had been blown outward as though The Hulk was inside.
A decade later and well into a career in photography, I still think about the pictures I would have gotten had I had a camera with me.
This also brings up the “photo journalism argument.” Is is OK to profit from taking pictures of things or events that destroyed someone’s life or income? I suppose I still haven’t decided which mindset I have. So until that point, I’ll continue to take pictures of things that intrigue me.
As you can probably guess, there was a fire. It was at a tree maintenance company about 3 miles from my house.