Fire Pt. 2

_C1_8823My project on rural and volunteer fire departments, which I first mentioned here, came to an end this weekend after three and a half months of work. It’s behind a paywall, but you can read the finished story here, if you like.

I focused more on reporting than photography during the second half of the project, but I still have a few to share. The first few are from an August fire south of Fayetteville; five departments squeezed their tanker trucks down a narrow country lane to fight it, but one man, Dale Cheatham, died inside, likely before crews arrived.

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_C1_8972It was so hot around the house the fighters took 15-minute shifts before retreating to this area, where medics checked their vitals and passed out bottles of water.

_C1_8279This photo is from a training meeting up in Goshen. Going through a half-built home is a good way to see and discuss how a home is built, how to approach fires in different parts of the structure, where there’s lots of air to feed a fire, how the floors are constructed. Firefighters, even volunteers, have to keep probably three dozen things in mind as they fight.

Finally, just a few images from a fundraising breakfast for the Northeast Benton County, or NEBCO, department. Many departments are struggling with recruitment and resources, but hundreds of people turned out to support them earlier this month.

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_C1_0841As with many long projects, I’m glad I did it, and I’m glad I’m done. I owe so much to all the volunteers, chiefs and supporters who talked with me and let me intrude into their lives for a little while. It’s an amazingly tight-knit and friendly group.

Thanks for looking,

Dan

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