This was a spectacular fire in Anchorage’s Midtown in September 2003. When a gas main ruptured during construction work near the Sears Mall, firefighters called in a backhoe operator to help snuff the inferno.
It was a fire I didn’t need to feel guilty about photographing. There was little chance of property damage and few people put at risk, just big flames and visual drama.
If fireballs and towering flames made for obvious eye-grabbing images, the quiet, sometimes hidden
moments of an emergency scene many times offered a more poignant and telling story for our readers.
Sometimes, it was as simple as turning around and looking behind me.
Anchorage fire Captain Mike Dunn (right) said a prayer of thanks after he and other firefighters saved Leslie DeRego, Jr. from being buried alive. ‘’The majority of people who are buried don’t make it,” said Dunn, who helped dig DeRego out. ‘’But miracles do happen, and this proves it.’’