Journalism: A contact career

Published 3:59 am Wednesday, January 6, 2010

By By Adam Prestridge
Whoever believes being a journalist is not a dangerous job, I beg to differ.
Often, journalists put themselves in harms way to ensure the readers and viewers get accurate news that not only informs, but also tells a story.
Time and time again, I have been placed in dangerous situations whether it is a murder scene or a high-speed chase. Those types of “spot” or “hard” news stories as we call them in the business, get my adrenaline pumping.
Not only does coverage of stories involving guns and two-ton vehicles eluding authorities at high rates of speed cause danger, but so do house fires. Within the first year of moving to Atmore, a huge house fire on Jack Springs Road was one such fire. Not known to the fire personnel on the scene, but the homeowner had numerous oxygen bottles in one of the bedrooms of the home. As I was rushing around the home to get “the shot” of flames, the oxygen bottles began exploding like bombs sending me to the ground for safety as well as the fire personnel on the scene.
Fortunately, I was not injured in the blast nor were any of the first responders. Since that time, there have been many close calls, but none as scary as that day, until this past Friday night.
When a fire call came across the scanner last Friday evening off Broad Street, I quickly put on my shoes and headed out the door. As I made my way down the hallway of my home, I heard the pitter-patter of little Nike’s behind me. It was my son, Ethan, with his fire helmet Santa brought him on ready to go to work with daddy. I couldn’t leave him behind, so I buckled him in the car with me and we headed off to the fire. Upon arrival, flames were high in the sky, so I left Ethan in the car for safety.
As I was attempting to take a photo from one angle, the fire shifted, so I rushed to the other side of the structure. Running along the dark roadway into a neighbors yard, I was suddenly tackled by what felt like a NFL linebacker and was sent somersaulting into the air. I landed on my feet while planting my hand on the ground, camera unharmed. I looked up and there was a mother and daughter on the front porch with dumfounded looks on their faces. Upon further investigation, I realized that I had not been tackled, but had literally attempted to run through a chicken wire fence.
When I turned to apologize to the family whose fence I bent down from my flip, they were laughing hysterically. I did not blame them.
Besides an immediate cramp in my hamstring and a few bruises on my knees and stomach the next day, I was fortunately not seriously injured.
Looking back, I too laugh. My wife, on the other hand, wishes someone had it on tape for her viewing pleasure.
Adam Prestridge is publisher of The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123.

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