Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Three Cheers for Bahamian Firefighters

Yesterday morning I was riveted to Facebook and to the photographs coming in at F.DoT Photography of the terrible fire that was burning in downtown Nassau. Photographer Farreno Ferguson was posting amazing shots of the fire and focusing his camera on the firefighters as they worked hard to contain the blaze. The images captured of the women and men who battled that fire and quickly brought it under control are fantastic, showing them for the brave and heroic public servants they are. In one photo after another, our firefighters could be seen doing what they were trained to do, facing down the flames, engulfed in smoke, their faces serious, determined, intent upon their mission. Of course I loved the photographs of the women firefighters especially. My heart filled with pride at the sight of them all. Like others commenting on the photographs, I was reminded of Nine Eleven. I thought of how these women and men, like their New York counterparts, serve and protect us this way every day with never a word of thanks. I was glad their bravery and fortitude had been captured on film and sent out on the web for us all to see. (I also thought about how passe and irrelevant print journalism is becoming thanks to citizen journalism and the web, but that is another story.) Cut to this morning and the coverage of the fire in the morning paper, and a story on an inside page written especially to criticize the fire department and how they handled the fire. True to form the "reporter" was able to find the whiners and complainers who sat comfortably on the sidelines and offered their criticism instead of their thanks and appreciation for the firefighters who risked their lives to stop a fire that could have burned all of Bay Street to the ground. Shame on the reporter, the editors and the complainers, all. Imagine how hurtful it must be for those firefighters to open the paper this morning and see their heroism denigrated and belittled. It must be heartbreaking for them and more than a little angering. I wish to be counted among those who are thankful and grateful for the firefighters and the lifesaving work they do, and I apologize to them all for the ungrateful few who had only negative things to say when they spotted a "reporter" coming their way. Thank you to the brave women and men of the fire department, for saving the day, for saving Bay Street, for keeping everyone alive. I am proud of you. I feel safe and protected today knowing that you are on the job. And thank you to citizen journalist Farreno Ferguson for taking the photographs that focused our attention on the human story, the real story of the heroism and bravery of our Bahamian firefighters.

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