After spending the day in a tornado disaster zone, I was headed to my hotel in Marion, Illinois. As I drove down the interstate at sunset I could see a thick cloud of smoke streaming up from the historic part of town. I had a little extra energy, and I was feeling curious, so I steered my van towards the plume to see what had happened. I’ve photographed fires from a distance, but never this close before.

The fire department was fighting a large house fire, and was struggling to keep it contained. The town’s newspaper would later reveal that the fire started in the kitchen, and traveled up the center of the house. Thankfully, everyone was able to make it out safely. The town had responded with four trucks and about twenty firefighters. A small crowd had gathered to watch from a safe distance.

I respectfully snapped a few pictures, not totally sure what I would even do with them, but ended up sending them to the local newspaper. As I got back in my van I couldn’t help but feel sad that crisis can happen anywhere at any time. Only a town away 300+ homes had been destroyed by a tornado. But a whole different crisis had happened here.


  1. This is actually my house and I’m the girl in the bottom photograph. It’s very touching to read the nice things that you wrote and the photos are extremely heart warming. I appreciate the consideration and thoughtfulness