It never fails... every time I'm about to go and shoot my first rodeo performance of the year something happens that makes me alter my game plan in some way. Last year it was a car crash on the loop, this year a fire at Catfish Corner, a local eatery on Beauregard Avenue. It has been a while since I've gone on a spot news run so when the call came out on the emergency scanner I thought there might be something to it. Most of the time we wait for additional information before we commit staff members to a call, but we were sitting there when another employee from the advertising side of the building came into the newsroom and said there was smoke pouring out of the building. We knew we had something.
When I first arrived at the scene the first thing I noticed was the aerial water cannon throwing water onto the roof of the structure. In nine years of working at the Standard-Times I'd never seen that before. But other than that everything seemed to be under control. The fire department had men on the ground with hoses and some where cutting vents in the roof of the building. All pretty normal stuff.
Then one of the air conditioning units on the roof caught fire and it just seemed to spread through the rest of the building. I was standing in the back lot behind the structure when I started to hear what sounded like bricks falling over and breaking. When I walked over to the west side of the building I realized it was the windows breaking out because of the heat being generated inside. As the windows broke the fire was fed with a large amount of oxygen and the fire inside the building just went crazy. There was nothing the fire department could do to salvage the structure, they were just going to have to let it burn and try and keep it from spreading to neighboring buildings. It was kind of an exciting event before I had to head over to the rodeo.