by Tony Reyes
by Tony Reyes
Sunday night I photographed a massive fire in an abandoned church on Grove Avenue and Thompson Street in Springdale. I got a call from the design desk that one of their number was on her way home when she saw a fire in an abandoned church building. A short time later the police scanner exploded with traffic about smoke from the building. I was called since it was not very far from my home.
Very few times in my career have I rolled up on a scene and seen so much fire. It would seem that since no one lived in the building or used it, the fire was able to build up and become uncontrollable before anyone even really knew what was going on. After I arrive it is simply time to take pictures. My job is ten times easier than the firefighters that actually have to battle the blaze.
At a big fire like this I try to do a few simple things. Get close, but stay out of the way and keep shooting. Some of my colleagues tease me as I tend to overshoot assignments, meaning I take a lot of pictures even if I only need one image. I don’t worry about that when spot news is occurring especially when the fire is as big as this one.
There wasn’t much the firefighters could do. There was no concern about people in the building since it had been vacant. The firefighters did not try to enter the building. No one should get hurt trying to save the building in my opinion. The best option here was to contain the blaze and keep other structures from catching on fire. The wind was very strong Sunday night making the fire larger and blowing smoke far down Thompson Street. The Springdale Fire Department used almost every fire company in the city to fight the fire and brought a ladder truck from Fayetteville to help contain the fire.
What a night. Take a look at my gallery of images from the fire. There is also a link to a video at the bottom of the page.