Monday, 9 June 2008

Bus blaze on way to town

Eddie and I left home before six this morning, he had to be at the Central Station for a school trip. As we neared Wilanowska, Eddie spotted a huge pillar of dense black smoke in the air. I handed him the camera, he captured the image below:

Approaching, we could see that it was a bus on fire. I parked up a safe distance behind it, and grabbed as many shots as I could.

The scene looked like the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack in Beirut, a communist era uprising or something from a war zone. The heat was intense - even standing at a safe distance. I could hear glass shattering. The billboard behind the bus also caught fire.

Notice the forelorn and rather useless fire extinguisher standing on the empty pavement. The first indication that the driver was OK. Interestingly, according to TVN24 reports, the PKS Piaseczno Ikarus bus was full of passengers - I could not see anyone around. I would have expected them to stand by curiously rather than to run a mile.

What happened to the bystanders? Apparently there were 30 people on the bus - not a sign of them. They must have been in an awful hurry to get to work. Or else illegal immigrants clearing off before the authorities turned up.

Firefighters arrived on the scene rapidly and the fire was out within three minutes of their arrival. Thankfully, the blaze happened when Puławska was still empty. Had the main artery into Warsaw from the south been clogged up with three lanes of stationary traffic - as would have been the case two hours later - the result could have been catastrophic. As it was, no casualties. A massive traffic jam snarled up approaches to Warsaw for several hours. Driving past the spot at 13:30, there was no sign of the conflagration - other than a melted Citylight billboard. Earlier, Moni witnessed the bus being towed away; she says she saw a driver actually at the steering wheel of the burnt-out shell! pożar autobus ul. Puławska WałbrzychskaAnother blazing bus pic on Gazeta Wyborcza's website. Below: a scan of the story, with my picture, on the front page of the Warsaw supplement to Poland's biggest-selling daily newspaper.

Rules for getting news photos into the media:
1) Ignore the 'post it for free' schemes such as Alert24. Yes, you get your photo published, but no, you don't get paid and you hand over all your rights to the image forever more.
2) Work fast. Get a sample, low-res image with an overprinted 'copyright: Your Name' watermark to the picture desks of your target media. If it's good, they'll reply swiftly.
3) If you've got a good pic, haggle. Remember, there's more than one picture editor out there.
4) ALWAYS have your camera with you!
This time last year:
Stormy evening, beautiful light
Giant dandelion clocks (not present this year!)

1 comment:

island1 said...

Woah! Great pictures, I've always wanted to happen on a dramatic event with a camera in my hand, but it hasn't happened yet.

Cool (I can say that since nobody was hurt).

Do we know what caused it?