Muschamp Rd

Fire in DTES SRO

February 5th, 2009
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Today after lunch there was a fire in the building behind us. This is a classic Downtown Eastside Single Room Occupancy hotel. There is no doubt that illegal activity goes on inside, because it goes on in the alley. The usual break and entering, open drug use, fencing stolen goods, and of course prostitution. I went into the alley and pulled out my Blackberry Curve but it let me down.

Fire starts in DTES hotel

It didn’t recognize my media card, so I took a few photos then shut it down, took out the battery, removed and reinserted the MicroSD card. Around this time the cops and fire department arrived so we were strongly advised to leave the alley and go back inside. Once inside I was able to take some low res video.

Fire spreads to floors above

I had a hard time getting it off my Blackberry and onto my Mac. PocketMac SyncMaster let me down, and even Finder couldn’t see the Blackberry, but I could sync, the Disk Utility could find the media card, but Finder could not. I couldn’t get Bluetooth to work either. I put a new hard drive in my Mac a while back, but my staple Mac programs like MailSmith and SnapzPro have been giving me too much grief. MailSmith needs a new version to be released.

I tried to put the video on Youtube but it was rejected as too long. Then I had to use iMovie which wasn’t that intuitive. I eventually got the video chopped, added the pictures, a token title and re-exported. But not in time to scoop the evening news. I didn’t even scoop the DTES Enquirer, but I have better pictures and video. Raincoaster has no mention, so maybe Google will give me love. We’ll see what Operation Phoenix makes of all this.

Resident makes futile effort to halt fire

I put some photos on Facebook and to view them, my mom joined… Facebook said anyone could view them. I’m not sure my mom needs to be on Facebook. My boss is on Facebook. My network is weird, but it remains Sauder MBA Classmate free.

Resident tries to escape as fire spreads

Resident has second thoughts about climbing up as fire spreads

No one was hurt that came out the back or the fire escape. They were accessing the damage and doing emergency repairs as I left work. Some of us do work full time so blogging has to wait until later, but Sean Orr and the rest at Beyond Robson have already posted about this. It goes back to whether it is more important to be authoritative or timely online. Timeliness is gradually replacing timelessness, see the rise of Twitter which I was asked again today to join!

Fire Spread to floors above

Fire continues to burn

Fire is going full bore as I restart my Blackberry and officials arrive


  • Muskie says:

    The story has now made Now Public. Of course they used mostly stock photos or photos from well after my video. I pointed them over here. I’m not sure if April got around to using my photos. We’ll see if commenting on a Now Public story results in some upsurge in traffic.

    I’m just not greedy enough, or a big self promoter. I just upload and let Google do its thing.

    Timelyness VS Timelessness

  • Muskie says:

    Apparently word is getting out the old fashioned way, people speaking to people, that I took some early photos of the fire with my Blackberry, possibly earlier than anyone else. I gave them to April of AHA Media to use, like I told her I’m just not greedy enough. She promised me full credit, which is more than I usually get.

  • Muskie says:

    This fire was the cover story in the Province. The cover photo was taken after my video or towards the end of it. That photo is credited to Les Bazso. The inside photo was taken much earlier but not before the first of my photos. It was taken to the left of me and could have been the guy with the silver camera. It is credited Randy Tait.

    My coworkers told me I should have sold my photos, the problem being one, my Blackberry wasn’t working perfectly and still isn’t, I couldn’t get them on to my Mac easily and three I really was supposed to be working that afternoon, not selling photos or blogging.

    My co-worker Lani missed out, she usually carries a huge Nikon camera, but I think she is on vacation. She could have got some 10 Megapixel photos not to mentioned zoomed in a lot more than I could with my Blackberry. Oh well it’ll teach her to go on Vacation and there will no doubt be another fire at an SRO in the DTES in the near future. Whether it will be 12 to 13 feet from our office I don’t know…

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