As soon as I arrived on the scene I smelled it, the unmistakeable scent of an unwanted fire. It’s haunting and not to be confused with the scent of a controlled fireplace blaze. I haven’t covered many house fires, but I knew to expect a mood much more somber than the Snowfest I had been at just before.
On that busy Sunday I photographed Snowfest, a house fire, and a protest. The day was exhausting, spent witnessing a variety of human emotion and many stories to be told.
The family in these images lost their home, which was especially painful just weeks before Christmas. In the moments leading up to the introduction my heart raced and my voice shook. I was actually surprised when the family gave me access. To have someone in their most vulnerable moments open up and allow me to photograph their family was very powerful. I appreciated being able to tell their story.
A few weeks later, I revisited the family, this time on Christmas Eve at their Uncle's house. The St. Petersburg Fire Department surprised them with presents and a visit from Santa.