Categorized | Samantha Baker

House Fire in Prairie Grove

[WARNING: Graphic images]

Fires are unfortunate experiences to be a part of regardless of the damage created. Without a doubt, on some level, the residents will be changed. Even if no major damage has been done to the property, emotionally, people are changed when they are told smoke is rising from their home. Sunday’s fire, however, was easily the worst one I’ve been to.

Very rarely have I been to a fire where flames could be seen from the house. This fire was only the third house I’ve seen with flames in my two years here. Yet, the damage from the fire extended much further than watching a roof burn. I was particularly drawn to one of the residents of the home, distraught, not because his possession were burning, but because his family’s pets were trapped inside the home. This fire was the worst I’ve been to because lives were lost. Several animals died in this fire and there was nothing anyone could do to help. It was devastating to watch. All I could do to separate myself from the emotional devastation was to raise my camera to my face and try and detach myself emotionally. Otherwise, I’m not sure I could have stayed at watched.

After returning from the fire and looking at my images, I noticed several people with blackened hands. I wonder now if that is perhaps because they tried going into the home to rescue the animals or if that was because of something else. The thought didn’t occur to me to ask at the scene. My thoughts tend to get lost during breaking news. It’s a skill I need to work on.

Below are images from the fire. A fair warning – some of the images may be graphic and difficult to view, but this is what happens when a fire tears up a family’s life. Hug your loved ones, including your pets, tonight and make sure you do what you can to prevent a fire from happening in your home (even though sometimes, they cannot be prevented). The cause of this fire was unknown at the time I wrote this blog.


I'm originally from Colorado and I was introduced to photojournalism in high school while working on the school's yearbook. In 2011, I graduated from Colorado State University with degrees in journalism and art. This is my first “real-world” job, but while in college I worked for CSU's daily student newspaper and I interned for Denver-based Westword, the Colorado Eagles (ACHL hockey team) and Johnson and Wales University. I cherish analog photography and I like to shoot on a medium-format Mamyia RB67 whenever I can. While I'm not at work, I enjoy doing all sorts of physical activities, especially mud runs and Crossfit, and I love to bake desserts (which are usually consumed by my coworkers).