As I write this note, I fully expect some people to have a different viewpoint, but I feel as though something needs to be said.
Yesterday, as I watched a neighbour’s home being engulfed in flames, I was quite horrified to watch people, young and old, taking pictures and film footage from across the street.
To me, it is insensitive and absolutely unjustified to record the misery of other people. Why would you want a record of this? Will it cheer you up? Will it be a nice topic of discussion on Facebook?
Some might argue for insurance purposes, or maybe to even sell the footage to the media.
Insurance companies won’t build a case around your images, as they speak with the fire department’s investigators, and to make a buck off the suffering of others should shame us all.
The media will no doubt have coverage of the incident, and that is the purpose of media. In any case, the looks on the faces of the “photographers” were filled more with amusement than concern.
I am glad my son was with me. Once the area was deemed safe, we were able to locate the people and ask if they needed any food, water, clothing, etc.
Fortunately, they told me that a neighbour across the street had already offered, and they were okay. A member of the Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service was able to locate a pair of shoes to fit the woman, and a neighbour supplied footwear for the man.
I encourage those who are not sure what to do during an incident like this to simply approach those who are directly affected and offer your help. There is no harm in this, and I am certain that if you were in a similar situation, you would prefer a helping hand, as opposed to a gawking crowd.
I am no prince, to be sure, and I don’t write this for any personal accolades, but at least my son was able to see that tragedy can be met with compassion, not just a detached fascination.
Kirt Purdy, Abbotsford