Fire, Fire, Fire
|A random picture from my desk|
To understand how easy it is to pick up the excitement in and officer's voice, I need to paint a picture of the newsroom at 1,2,3 o'clock in the morning. There are more than 30 or 40 cubicles for both producers and anchors spread out across the room. Only two of those desks are occupied (some mornings only one.) The only sound that breaks the monotonous click-clack of my fingers on the keyboard are the late night infomercials and the scanners. I'd be lying if I told you that I listen to every single call or even respond to every call that comes over the scanners. Usually I'm listening for the unusual. For one, most scanner chatter is very short with just essential details- address, the emergency, and who is responding. So it's hard to pick up. I wish I could remember every key phrase that grabbed my attention to a breaking news story. The latest was a deadly fire in New Haven. Three young lives cut short. The key phrase was.. "reports of people jumping out of the second floor." It may seem weird but I immediately start thinking "multi-family homes are usually 3 stories. I hoped the 3rd floor got out. They didn't. Then when firefighters got there the call of "heavy fire in the second floor stairwell." no way to the third floor. Then repeated calls to get a fire hose or line charged so they could get water on it. Those calls were intense. Their voices intensified by the need to be louder than a fire truck engine a raging fire and their breathing apparatus. The scanners are a brief window into what that officer or fireman is going through right then. Each story is unique. People tell stories, "officials" confirm them, we report them.