I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been pretty exhausted lately. I have been working 6-7 day work weeks. Been busy at work, shooting my own stuff quite a bit. And to add to that my night owl tendencies have me staying up late and sleeping in. I’m basically eating, sleeping, working and repeating.
That being said this past Sunday I had a full circle reporting moment. One that happened to occur at the beginning of a 6 day run (following a 7 day run) of working days.
Bottom line, I was less that thrilled to be working. But my assignment lead me to a home of N. 47th Ave. It had been nearly lost in a fire two weeks back. The family wanted to talk only to my station because of how we handled the coverage and how respectful we were at the scene. It didn’t occur to me that they were talking about me until I pulled up to the house.
I remembered the scene that day. The fired started at the back of the house. There was a tree in the front and a fire truck parekd by it. It was hard to get video of anything becuase of where it happened. I remembered it vividly. I was working by myself, headed to shoot a Squires Scribbles story about a team that won their first game since 2008. I got a call from the station asking me to “swing by” and check out a fire on my way to the interview. Responding to breaking news by yourself can sometimes be overwhelming because you’re trying to gather information, send a photo back, tweet about it and shoot video. So I arrived on the scene, parked a block away and walked up to the house. The family was very upset. Their cat and dog were inside their burning home. And no one could go in and rescue them without risking their own life.
Then all of a sudden their dog appeared from a neighbor’s backyard. It had somehow gotten out of the basement, through a burning back deck. It’s a miracle really. Her name was Mary and she escaped with just minor burns on her back…mostly hair.
Anyway, I shot the story, got a soundbite from the battalion chief and went on my way. I was late to my interview with the football team but didn’t think it was a big deal.
Often times when we cover fires or breaking news, they all blend together and we rarely have time to follow-up on every house fire and see how they are doing.
So when I rolled up to this house and realized I had responded to the burning home two weeks back, I felt humbled that they wanted to talk to us and share their story.
It turns out that their cat survived the fire, by hiding out in the basement. They discovered her at 8:30 that night when they went back inside the house. They took me through the upstairs, where everything was a total loss. The teenage girls room was an absolutely and total loss. Everything was melted and burned. A black charcoal lined her walls. THe backroom was destroyed, the blinds, the ceiling, everything.
The family will be living in a hotel for the next few months while crews gut the home and attempt to rebuild it. They’ve been living there for 23 years. And in a matter of moments it was all up in flames.
That’s hard to swallow for most people. But the point of this story is this: sometimes when we least expect it, God puts us in places on purpose. There was a reason I responded to that fire that day. There was a reason I had to work a 6th day at work. There was a reason I had the pleasure to tell that family’s story. A story that really ends with hope.
The next day a woman called me and asked if she could have their contact information. She had been a victim of a house fire before and wanted to donate some blankets and towels.
Talk about full circle moments. Sometimes they are just what we need to remember how each moment can be an opportunity to be present to others…in ways we sometimes don’t even understand.