An Open Letter
Dear Boston Fire Department:
There are many photographs of fire operations that are submitted to magazines without any supporting stories. They are spectacular and, in truth, most are of defensive operations that are taken from great distances.
1 have always looked for photos and encouraged photographers to shoot firefighters operating — doing things. My hopes were that, even without the story, the reader could use anv photograph for dialogue and brainstorm from what he sees. Whether alone, in conversation, or at drill, the firefighter could apply his thoughts to his own district and his own operations. But in this case, 1 was wrong.
In March we printed a cover photograph of a firefight. The picture showed a millisecond in time at an extremely successful operation. I only meant for the reader to think about what he sees, to design his own story. In short, 1 tried to separate the part from the whole. It was never in my mind, nor will it ever be, to criticize the operations of any department within the pages of this magazine.
It was a major blunder on my part to think that a part could be separated from a whole; for this I offer my most sincere apologies. The operation, in fact, resulted in the successful rescue and removal of 19 trapped occupants. This happened through the efforts, tactics, and procedures of a brave and efficient fire department.
The whole picture is one of multi-story involvement of a heavily occupied frame building on arrival, and proper positioning of sufficient hose lines to support an aggressive interior attack that assisted heroic and effective search, vent, and removal tactics to save all of the occupants.
These facts were relayed to me by Boston Fire Department leadership in as strong (and justified) a manner as possible.
Again, 1 offer my apologies to the Boston Fire Department for ever having hinted at the fact that 1 would dare to set myself (or anyone else) on as a critic.