There's quite a bit of dark humor in the news business. One saying: "If it bleeds, it leads."
Unfortunately it's true.
Thursday morning right before the daily 10am production meeting, the "Squawk Box" (scanner that hits all police, fire, and emergency frequencies) reported a structure fire in Medford. Because I was on call, I had a camera already loaded and ready in one of the station's cars, and I took off.
I went to the residence fire and by the time I got there, the flames were extinguished. I was the first media on scene though.
It was a home that caught on fire. Fire officials say the fire started in the back of the home and set off the smoke alarm. Crews were on scene two minutes after getting the call and quickly knocked down the fire. Thankfully, much of the house was still standing.
After shooting video from the street and sidewalk, one of the firefighters, who I had met and interviewed two weeks prior, motioned for me to come to back of the house. He showed me where the fire had started and I shot video of the burned studs and wood.
When I returned to the front of the house, a man said, "Hey, what channel are you with?" But it wasn't the typical inquisitive tone I was used to. It was accusatory. He continued, "That's my property. You can't just go on to my property without my permission. This is a very rough day. You don't have any (expletive) permission to go into my backyard and shoot video of my (expletive) burned house. You can't use that. I don't want to be interviewed and you can't use that video. You don't have any (expletive) right."
Wow. I knew that some people wouldn't like me since I was media, but I wasn't expecting that.
I told him who I was with, that I would check with my producers about the ethics of using that particular footage, and that I was beckoned to the backyard by the firefighters.
From my point of view, the fire crews have jurisdiction over the property. They knew what I was doing there (and the other two TV stations and still photog from the paper) and they knew whether or not it was legal or right for us to go back there, and invited us anyway.
Either way, I used the footage in this story.