The one thing I do recall is that this was a tough 4 alarm apartment building fire that took hours to extinguish. Somehow I found myself not far from the scene of the actual fire, which displaced 60 people in the middle of winter. I don’t believe it was very cold that day, or maybe it didn’t seem cold due to the amount of heat coming off the flames. Once the fire was out, or almost out, I was able to get close enough to make this image of Brad Panaia, of Yardley Makefield Fire Company who was drained physically and probably emotionally at the time, from the battle. He took off his helmet and gloves, placed them onto a parked car at the scene, and wiped his brow with his hand while waiting for a drink from one of his fellow firefighters. I know I had been on scene for at least an hour and a half at this point. In that time I had the easy scene setters, but I recall hanging because I was looking for something that conveyed the emotion of the day. At the time, I don’t believe they were aware of the death of a 3 year old boy in the fire. My editors must have though I captured that emotion since the image ran on A1 in the Philadelphia Inquirer the next day. Although for some reason, the only copy I could find in the archives is a black and white.
Every once and a while I wonder whatever happened to Brad Panaia, who, along with all of the firefighters that battled those flames on that winter morning, are certainly heroes to everyone that day and many other days. Out of the 60 displaced, a 3 year old boy was killed while his twin brother was saved by a neighbor who had scaled three floors to rescue the boy, 8 people were injured. 150 firefighters responded to the blaze.
Lucky for us there are people willing to run into the flames. It could have have been worse if not for these souls.
Yesterday I worked on a feature story about Camp Ockanickon’s 75th Anniversary as a Boy Scout Camp.
It was bittersweet with today being Father’s Day. You see, the last time I visited this place I was an 11 year old scout and attended the 1976 Scout Jamboree with my father. As I walked through the grounds I came across the wood “cabin” pictured.
I smiled. No chuckled, because it brought back a memory of that trip. My father and my scout friend’s fathers were with us to chaperone. When my father came across out campground, he saw the tent that the boys were to sleep in. They were nice full covered tents. And then the scout master said, “and this is where you will be bunking.” My father said, “I’m not sleeping in that! There’s only three walls.” None of the other fathers were happy about it either.
Their solution was to stay up all night by camp fire, indulging in cold beverages. They were still awake when we awoke in the am. They acted like they had just awaken, but we knew otherwise. (They talked all, and I mean all night). They sent us off to gather some more firewood, we were scouts, you know.
By the time we arrived back at the campsite, there were our fathers, snug as a bug in a rug….in the three sided open air cabin.
Happy Father’s Day to my Dad in Heaven!
Little moments like that make me realize HE IS FOREVER WITH ME. 🙂
Silverdale Fire company is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year. Her are some images and video from some time I spend with the crew.
SILVERDALE, PA – APRIL 15: Firefighter Greg Hill of Hilltown, Pennsylvania puts on his firefighting gear at Silverdale Fire Company April 15, 2014 in Silverdale, Pennsylvania. Silverdale Fire Company will be celebrating it's 100th anniversary this year. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain)
SILVERDALE, PA – APRIL 15: Some of the firefighters gear rests on shelves at Silverdale Fire Company April 15, 2014 in Silverdale, Pennsylvania. Silverdale Fire Company will be celebrating it's 100th anniversary this year. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain)
SILVERDALE, PA – APRIL 15: A fire truck, circa 1980 sits in the garage at Silverdale Fire Company April 15, 2014 in Silverdale, Pennsylvania. Silverdale Fire Company will be celebrating it's 100th anniversary this year. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Cain Images) (William Thomas Cain)