by John Gilstrap | May/June 2014
Nothing plays on the news better than a good fire. Roiling flames, billowing smoke, charged hose lines everywhere. Television reporters speculate with breathless urgency about neighborhood evacuations and the toxicity of the smoke. If they’re resourceful, they’ll get a tearful mother to hold her baby just so in the frame and weep her concerns that her family might be poisoned. With just the right spin, even a relatively minor incident can stay alive in the media for weeks, piquing the interest of zoning boards and environmental regulators.