Garrettsville – Saturday, March 22, 2014, for the Garrettsville community, has become like 9/11 for our nation. I was preparing to leave for a long drive to Salt Lake City, Utah when that day for me turned upside down. It was a cold spring day with overcast skies and light breezy conditions. I was at my home, just a couple of houses from the Dairy Queen in Garrettsville.
My fire pager alarmed a little after 1:15 PM. I ran outside with my camera bag. As I drove down State Street, I could see this was not a routine call. Within a couple of minutes, I was describing on my fire radio a size-up of the fire scene conditions to our responding fire units. I was well aware that a historic event was unfolding.
Being the fire department’s photographer, I had exceptional access to the fire ground. For the next 10 hours, I shot over 5 hours of video and over 300 still images. All has been condensed into an almost 2-hour documentary. Beginning with some of the 911-recorded calls, the drama, anguish, and professionalism are revealed. I was given permission to include video and images by many other observers. A police dash-cam video of the fire’s early stages gives a valuable insight into our first responders’ early actions. In addition, I have incorporated videos and stills of the building collapse from three different directions. As the catastrophe unfolds in the video, I have included explanations clarifying the actions of the professionals involved.
The video is dedicated to our retired fire chief, Bob Russell. It was during his tenure and with his initiative; the Garrettsville Freedom Nelson Joint Fire District was formed. With the tax funds generated from the associated levy, our fire department was able to purchase modern fire trucks, all of which saw service at this fire.
The complete video can be purchased from the Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce, Ben Coll, President.
Here is a link to the direct purchase page: http://garrettsvillearea.com/firedvd
Orders can be mailed anywhere in the US via USPS for $7 (flat rate padded media envelope). The DVD price is $10. All profits from the video go to the Garrettsville Strong Fund.
A short trailer of the video can also be viewed via youtube at: URL: http://youtu.be/3t1Xlb_EUI8
Submitted by Rich Teresi