Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Barn Fire -- Explosions Reported"

I came into work on Tuesday at the usual 2:30 time. The Assignment Board had me scheduled to travel to Grants Pass to do a story about how this year's cooler weather created a poor Pear season and would force the city to cancel its annual Pear Picking Festival. Usually citizens can go to the community garden and pick pears for free, but the pears just didn't take off. The person I would be interviewing was only going to be available between 1-3:30, so I needed to head up to Grants Pass pretty quickly.

I got my gear together, filled up my water bottle, and printed out directions. I was all set to go but over the scanner we heard: "Barn Fire -- Explosions Reported"..."The barn is surrounded by grassland. ODF (Oregon Dept. of Forestry) has dispatched helicopters and engines to the scene."

In our eyes, this clearly was going to be a bigger story so my assignment changed. The past month has seen the Oak Knoll Fire that destroyed 11 homes a few weeks prior and The Blackwell Hill Fire that started on Sunday. Both started in fairly remote areas but travelled quickly through wildland.

I left immediately and got to the remote barn about 45 minutes later. By then the fire had been extinguished but had completely destroyed the barn. Inside there were remnants of cars, containers that looked like oil barrels, and propane tanks.

After interviewing an ODF spokesman and a family member of the people who owned the barn, I headed back to the station (via a quicker route, thanks to the suggestion of that family)

It was a little after 5 when I left the barn and about 5:30 when I got back to the station. I found that they wanted the anchors to read a VO (voiceover) in the 6 and wanted me to front a VO in the 6:30. I started uploading footage and writing scripts and was able to get it all in! The other two channels were out at the scene too, but it looked like they didn't have video of the story in their evening shows. Score!

The VOs ran without a hitch in the evening shows and I packaged the story for the 11 oclock show.

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