Don't fret, it's just Charles Ford's photography blog.


The Warped Prism is a photo blog, but I have no great photos for this post.  Instead, a little story about a bit of excitement we had last night.  It has been extremely hot and dry in south central Kansas, so fire danger is high.  My wife has in the past thought me a little nutty for being so worried about fireworks in the neighborhood starting a fire.   (In the past I have gone as far as standing outside with the hose, spraying down the roof.)   Don’t get me wrong.  I like fireworks.  In fact, for several years my family would put on quite a show down at Table Rock Lake in Missouri.   My neighbors did not take the precautions we did (apparently).

Around 11:45pm I heard another barrage of fireworks.  From my own fireworks days, it sounded to me like a big brick of “Saturn Rockets” (or “Saturn Missles – I can never remember).  I was thinking, that’s kind of crazy for a residential neighborhood, those things fly all over.   Anyhow, a couple minutes later I thought I would take a peek out back just in case.  Sure enough, there was  a nice blaze going along the back wire  fence, right under the main wooden power pole.   As the wife called 911, I tried to reach the fire (unsuccessfully) with my garden hose.   Fortunately the fire department (and police) showed up soon after and put it out.  The actual fire was over on the far side of the back wire fence, it burned the back neighbors brush pile (not the “fireworks neighbors”) and a section of adjacent wood fence.

I want everyone to know that as I was fumbling to attach a section of hose, in the dark, I was thinking….” I wish I had a camera”.   “Could I run in the house to grab the camera?”   But there was a raging fire so I did not go in for the camera.  No photos exist of the actual fire.  Pretty sad.  I could have easily grabbed my little Canon at least before running out the back door.   I flunked this real world test in photojournalism!

All I have to offer is the following, after the fire itself was out.


Fire Truck Number 7 Lights Up the Neighborhood


The Morning After~Peeking Over the Back Fence


Evidence! Found Elsewhere In The Yard


On the remote chance someone from the Wichita Police or Fire Department is reading this, you have my sincere thanks.   The response time was amazingly quick, and you guys (and ladies) were total pros.

I hope tonight is a little less exciting, I will have my hose ready, and perhaps a camera in my pocket.

7 responses

  1. In my misspent youth I recall one hot Fourth of July sitting around the pool and giving the kegerator a workout, playing with sparklers. After I tossed a lit sparkler over the fence in to the neighbor’s yard I realized that he apparently did not believe in watering his plants. A bush burst in to really intense flames. I don’t remember if I used a garden hose or if I was pitching buckets of water out of the pool over the fence, but I got the fire out. I have no idea if the neighbor ever noticed his burnt bush, but it scared the crap out of me.

    July 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    • ken bello

      That’s it, Wayne! You’re under arrest for arson, malicious mischief and failure to share your sparklers wit your neighbors.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:49 pm

  2. ken bello

    You did the right thing, Charles. In an emergency, it’s better to have a clear head and take action than to just try to get photos. And I’m sure once the pros get to the scene, they’re grateful when other people stay out of their way. Judging from the damage it looks like there was quite a blaze.
    I know you guys are an hour behind us, but isn’t 11:45 a little late for fireworks? They’re pretty much done here by 10:30!
    Our neighbors have been shooting off fireworks for a week, escalating every night with a big display tonight. Then it tapers off until Labor day, and it starts all over. I also worry because there is a wooded area behind our house separating our neighbors and there is some dry, dead wood and kindling there that can easily catch fire. It hasn’t rained here in a while.
    The “Evidence” photo is really pretty nice, so it’s not a total loss. I have a little point & shoot for those quick grab shots, but it seems that every time I try to use it, the batteries are dead. I’d be awful in an emergency.

    July 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm

  3. Good thing you were vigilant or the fire could have been worse. I expect the neighbor shooting off the fireworks has not come around to say, “Sorry!” In my past, at least, the ones causing havoc never did. I too have always enjoyed fireworks and bought the big grand finales for the end of the front yard display, but we did try to be careful and keep watch with hose and buckets of water around as a safety net. I truly wish everyone a safe and sane 4th of July!

    July 3, 2011 at 3:22 pm

  4. Martin Martin

    I agree with Bello….From the damage, there was more fire then I’d want to see burning on my property line. Seeing how I’m your big brother, I WOULD have loved to video you trying to find another section of hose, and then getting it connected to the other in the dark….Sounds like one of our famous family stories….lol
    Live long and proper…..Algee…………………..

    July 3, 2011 at 6:01 pm

  5. Yes Ken, I thought 11:45pm was really late for them to be doing that. There has been no sign of life over there all day today….I don’t know if the police hauled somebody off to jail, or the neighbors are just too embarrassed to show themselves. Come to think of it, at one point last night I thought, “hey, that looks like Wayne Frost!” (Kidding!)

    I won’t hold my breath for the apology Patti. I’m pretty sure the fireworks they were using were mostly of the illegal variety for the city limits. My brothers hypothetical video might have been entertaining, I know at one point I was trying to connect the wrong end of the extension hose to the main hose, this is while I was thinking about running in to grab a camera. I probably worked at that sucker for 20-30 seconds before I worked it out mentally.

    “Martin Martin” lol. “Hi I’m Charles. This is my brother Martin, and my other brother Martin.”

    July 3, 2011 at 9:12 pm

  6. That reminds me of a fire in the woods a few years ago that was the result of unsupervised brush burning. It went out of control and spread along the bluffs to my neighbours house. I was up all night, calling our local volunteer fire brigade back every time the fire re-ignited. My neighbor’s house was saved and the only thanks I got from him was the suggestion that I help him make a contribution to the fire brigade to thank them for saving his home. I was speechless to say the least. LOL

    July 4, 2011 at 8:48 am

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