There’s something quite mesmerising about a fire – but not when it is on a path of destruction!
On the way to work a couple of days ago I came across a fully involved house fire, something I’ve only ever seen once in my life (thankfully). When I passed the scene the fire crews had not long turned up and even at that stage it was easy to see someone’s life had just been shattered. They could only watch in horror as their life as they knew it literally went up in a ball of flames and billowing smoke.
What made it particularly heart wrenching for me was that I pass this particular house every day on the way to and from work. I have watched its evolution with interest during the past two years as the new homeowners transformed it from the drab place it once was into a home to be proud of.
As it was just after 8am I hurried into work and constantly refreshed the local paper’s website for more information about the fire. It was very welcome news when, later that morning, I found out that although someone was taken to hospital with minor injuries, no one was seriously hurt or killed in the incident despite the fact there were many in the house when it broke out.
When I passed the scene there was a massive fire ball erupting from the front windows of the house which rose above the height of the second story roof. It was an amazing sight and I was reminded that there are forces out there with far greater power than we could ever imagine. The sheer power of the fire was completely mind blowing.
Therefore it surprised me to later find that when Layton came upon the scene on his way to town (about 5-10 minutes after me) the flames had all but gone and the fire crew were left to deal with the mass of smoke as it billowed from every available orifice.
Naturally the photographer in Layton took over. For many years now his Father has been drumming into him that he needs to carry his camera everywhere he goes. He doesn’t always heed that advice, but time and time again when he does carry it with him his Father’s advice comes into its own.
The following photographs were not intended to take pleasure in the pain and loss of others, but to capture what was happening. To capture the strength and force of the fire as well as a visual report of the wonderful efforts of the fire crew as they struggled to bring the situation under control.
Some of these photos were later featured on The Southland Times’ website to accompany their story.