Small World Dave Salzer

What are the odds?  It was early 1983 when I responded from the Journal American News Room in Bellevue Washington to a chemical spill response by the Redmond Washington fire department.  Didn’t sound like a big deal initially – some sort of chemical reaction outside a manufacturing plant. But we thought it might be newsworthy thus worth a photograph.  Turned out to be visually an interesting spill as fire fighters doused the pesky multi-colored fire and white smoke.  I shot that in color.

After the fire was extinguished and the fire fighters retreated each one was hosed down with fresh water to decontaminate their clothing. One of the fire fighters near my shooting position dramatically pulled off some of his fire fighting gear as another fire fighter prepared to blast him with the hose. I turned just in time to catch the fire fighter in the full spray of the fire hose ducking and weaving to make sure each side of his body was exposed to the spray.  Made a good black and white picture.

As the spray subsided and I walked over to get the fire fighter’s name I was astonished. He was Dave Salzer, a classmate of mine at Clover Park High School in Lakewood Washington who I hadn’t seen since I left Clover Park in 1962.  We greeted each other and had a good laugh about the situation.  I told him I would see him at the Clover Park 20 year reunion that upcoming summer.

At the reunion I presented Dave with a large, mounted version of the print in front of the class and added during the ceremony that he was the only classmate I know who really “got hosed.”  Fun time.


Published by

Jeffrey Larsen

Retired photojournalist from Seattle Washington.