So last week I had my first shot at breaking news, and I pursued the task all on my own. You see, I was assigned a package on Lori Schafer, who just retired from the Meridian Township Fire Department. For a little background information, Lori was the first female to be hired in as a full-time firefighter in Meridian Township. Two weeks prior to my interview with her, she retired from the station as Battalion Chief.
I met Lori at HOMTV at 2 p.m. on Thursday, and we decided to go over to the station for her interview. After I interviewed the retiree, I interviewed Mark Vroman, the recently promoted Battalion Chief and then Lieutenant Derek Burcham about their work experience with Lori, collected some b-roll and began to pack up.
As I was chit chatting with Lieutenant Burcham and packing up my equipment, a voice came over the radio talking about a possible house fire. Burcham instantly ran over to the truck, put on his gear and prepped to drive off. That is when Battalion Chief Vroman ran out of the firehouse and jumped in his truck.
By this time I was setting equipment in the back seat of the car, and it suddenly hit me, “I need to capture this!”
As fast as I could zipped open the camera case, grabbed the camera, began to jog across the parking lot and turned the camera on ready to capture both emergency vehicles driving away from the firehouse towards the emergency.
After both vehicles left, I ran to my Chrysler and instantly called over to HOMTV. I asked Darkus if this was something I should pursue, and she left it in my hands.
So I bet you’re wondering what happened next? Or how in the world I figured out the location of where the fire was.
Well, at first I tried driving a couple of blocks with my windows down to try and hear where the firetrucks might have went. When I couldn’t hear anything I pulled into a parking lot and called the fire station.
I told them I was with the media, and that I was trying to locate where the trucks were going. After the lady on dispatch told me I thanked her, got off the phone and typed Teakwood Circle in my phone.
I instantly became excited, and found it hard to follow the speed limit giving how anxious I was; however I did follow it, just to clarify. Pulling up to the street, I had this huge rush of adrenaline. I pulled to the side of the road, jumped out to grab the camera, and I was ready to do work.
As I approached the scene, cop cars and fire trucks were everywhere, and a whole entire crew stood in the driveway of the house inspecting the scene. Running down the side walk with the tripod in hand, and a dying camera, I had to act fast to grab some b-roll and capture an interview. Then all of a sudden I was at the scene.
One thing that surprised me the most, was how nice everyone on staff was as I approached the scene. They directed me towards the exact location, and told me I could get closer if I wanted too. I have been on stories with reporters, where the media was instantly dismissed. It was nice to see a department so caring to let the public know what was going on.
Unfortunately I had missed the fire, but everyone was safe and the fire was put out quickly thanks to the Meridian Township Fire Department staff. I captured some images and interviewed Chief of Training and EMS Operations Bill Priese and then my camera died.
As I rushed back to the station, I notified Brandie about what I captured, and prayed everything turned out okay on the camera. That was when Brandie had me turn it into a breaking news story for the web.
Naturally the computers and uploading docs were giving me difficulties at a critical time, but the clips uploaded, turned out decent and I finished the updates before leaving.
8 p.m. rolled around and I finally began to pack up to drive to Mount Pleasant, but not a single thing about that bothered me. I have found the love of my life, and am so glad that I found a job I am sad to leave every day.