Firefighting Story

It’s not hard to imagine the story in this photo, taken by Aaron Kondziela at a night-time fire in Buffalo, New York ( This photo speaks for itself.

The image contains pathos, fear and urgency. For starters, who are the people in the foreground? Are they firefighters resting from the battle, or merely spectators? Or perhaps they are residents of the building, watching their homes or businesses go up in flames. What thoughts and emotions are they experiencing? What will happen once the fire is out?

How did the fire start? Was it arson? How long berfore it came under control? How much damage was there to adjacent buildings or homes? Perhaps one of the watchers is the one who set the fire.

Note the two cranes from which water is streaming. One appears outlined by blue neon lighting. Is that just a trick of the camera lens, or is the crane actually limned in neon? Perhaps this fire is a hundred years or so in the future, where firefighting companies distinguish their equipment with colored lights. They might even be paid by how many cranes they use. Or which company puts the fire out. This could be a battle between firefighting companies. If so, what rests on one comapny attaining victory over the flames before another one does?

And you thought it was just a picture of a fire, didn’t you?

Susan Tuttle

Comments? Your ideas from this photo…

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