Things a Fire Taught me.
On the night of November 22 or early November 23rd, depending upon how you look at time, something changed. My husband heard something outside; it was my across the street neighbor's house up in flames. He called 911 (although we weren't the first to call), and I grabbed a pile of blankets and ran outside. There were more people than blankets so I ran back in to grab another pile. Even more people now. Then it occurred to me, umm invite them in silly. So I did, and I had five very scared kids follow me in. Don't worry I made sure the parents knew how many kids were in my house and where they were. When I got back to the house, my hubby was thinking a bit better than me and had given the kids oversized clothes to put on over their jammies. Everyone was obviously really upset, but their immediate needs had been met. My brain was racing, what do they need now, they have water, clothes (kinda), and each other. Distraction. I didn't have the answers they were looking for other than their Dad/Mom were ok. So we watched Polar Express and had hot chocolate. We did our best to make them feel as safe as we could.
Things finally slowed down enough I could start to process everything. There was my camera sitting right next to my location previous to the chaos and I didn't grab it. Here I had so many great journalistic opportunities to take amazing photos, but my camera stayed right there. That wasn't what today was about, today was about being human. What we did wasn't much, certainly not newsworthy, just the human thing to do. I learned I would never be that great photographer because I chose to participate instead of document, and I don't regret it at all. I would do it all the same again, and I'm ok with that.
We were happy to act as a hub for this amazing family, and if you would like to do something for them, that would be great. They lost all their worldly possessions: house, cars, wallets, phones, and everything else. If you feel inclined please give to their GO Fund Me Page:
PS These photos weren't taken until after the family left our home and headed to their grandparents. Only then was it "ok" in my mind. about three hours later
As I grabbed a few shots, I learned something else. How amazingly grateful I am for the wonderful fire fighters of the Franklin Fire Department. Their commitment and efforts well past 4 AM made me tear up a bit.