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Sean vs. The Barn Fire

So wow, there is absolutely no interesting news going on in the world of pop culture right now. At least nothing I’d usually write about. I think DC Comics gave a stupid name – Pandora – to that hooded woman from their New 52 event. And there’s some back and forth over whether or not Bane’s voice needs re-dubbing in The Dark Knight Rises. Not the sort of stuff I can write an adventure about!

So with nothing better to do, I’ll tell you about my Monday night covering a massive barn fire!

I don’t write about my personal life much, but some of you may know that I’m a newspaper reporter in Central New York. Specifically I write about the police beat and fires. All the cool stuff. I sometimes want to write on this blog more often about my day job, but usually there’s plenty of fun comic book stuff to keep me occupied. Oh well. Your loss.

So there I was Monday night, the last day of my 3-day New Year’s vacation, sitting all nice and toasty warm in my apartment. I was hanging out with my girlfriend, watching an American Dad! marathon, and basically enjoying life. Lo and behold, however, I get a sudden phone call from my boss. This is not a frequent occurrence.

Oh no! he tells me, there’s a massive barn fire outside the city! The photographer is in North Carolina, and it’s all up to me to get my butt out there and save the day, or get the story. What was I supposed to do, lie? I’m just chillin’ at home. So I pause the American Dad!, throw on a coat and shoes and head out into the cold, dreary snow. It’s in the 20s temperature wise, with freshly fallen snow on the ground. It’s 5:30 p.m., so in January that’s already pitch black out. The last thing I want to do is be out there in this weather standing around watching  a barn burn.

But away I go!

Burn, baby, burn!

I took that picture myself once I got to the scene. Had to park some distance away and trudge through the cold to get that close. The flames were supposedly much higher at the peak of the fire, taller even than a nearby silo. Still, I made it with some flames and took a bunch of pictures. That’s my job: to stand out on the street in the dark watching firefighters put out raging infernos. It can be pretty cool, if it’s not super cold.

There are no official rules for what to do at a fire scene, just a lot of stuff I’ve picked up over the years from working with firefighters. I know to stay the hell out of there way, but they also know that I’m looking for information. So I hung back near the fire trucks and just watched them work. I spoke with a neighbor, who gave me some great quotes about what he saw. I also spoke with the son of the homeowner, getting a phone number to call the next morning for information on the barn. It’s worse when it’s a house, because the last thing you want to do is bother somebody who is in the process of losing their house while you’re trying to interview them for the newspaper.

But nobody was hurt in this barn fire, and nobody lived on the property. A horse died though. I guess that’s sad.

I hung out for about an hour before heading home. My newspaper has a noon deadline each day, so Monday’s newspaper was already on the streets and the fire story wouldn’t go to print until Tuesday’s newspaper. So I knew I could just come in the next morning and talk to the fire chief to get the details, which I did. I didn’t have to stick around on the scene until he had a moment to talk to me.

I would link you to the story I wrote, but apparently my newspaper hasn’t updated their website. I will provide a link, should they ever provide me a webpage. Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed the little peek into my day job! It can be a blast, but it can be really cold sometimes too.

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About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on January 3, 2012, in My Life, My Newspaper Stuff. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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