Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Behind the Lunge

Behind the Lunge

It's not often you see a TV news photog step out from behind the camera and own up to what he's shown, but that's exactly what WKTV's Tim Fisher did and the results are sobering. It all began Monday when four people perished inside a raging house fire in West Utica. Outside the two and a half story duplex, chaos reigned. Well meaning witnesses urged first responders to save the family trapped inside, but fears of a collapse prevented crews from entering the inferno. When firefighters did cross that threshold, they found the bodies of a Mother and three children. Tim Fisher caught it all. Like any 40 year veteran of breaking news, he positioned himself just out of the way and let the red light glow. At one point, a stricken witness lashed out at Tim's lens, before accusing fire crews of not doing all they could to save the family.

Tim shrugged off the lunge, but the accusation that firefighters didn't try hard enough bothered him - so much that he and his station did something rather extraordinary. They spoke up. In six thoughtful minutes the veteran photojournalist calmly describes what HE witnessed on scene and provides extensive video to back up his assertions. His pictures show rescue crews working to the point of exhaustion and family members absorbing the unthinkable. It's not easy to watch, but WKTV is to be commended for providing a painful but potentially healing view of a story no one wanted to see happen. Best of all, the station didn't wrap their good intentions in the usual broadcast hokum. No smarmy uncle type in a shiny suit reciting a script someone else handed him; just an unvarnished storyteller who doesn't need expensive recording equipment to convey perspective. At the end of his soliloquy, Tim Fisher addresses the question directly:
"Did they do all they could?? I wish you could have watched and listened and felt what I did yesterday. Then I would be happy to leave it up to you. But I hope this helps."
Judging from the many viewer comments, it did.


Anonymous said...

WOW. I forgot TV could do that.

Unknown said...

powerful story. thanks for sharing.

cyndy green said...

One other thing most folks don't understand is that YOU DO NOT RUSH INTO A BURNING HOUSE. I've heard some harsh criticism of firefighters who arrive and then take the time to assess the fire before attacking...but that is professionalism at work. Those few extra minutes make them more effective and allow them to attack from a position of strength AND also allows them to work safely. In my town we lost two firefighters and nearly a third in a simple house fire gone wrong (along with the homeowner). Not something I ever want to follow again.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure I've never seen anything like this before. Who knew that was possible?

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