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Wardrobe Malfunction: A fire breaks out at a local business…but that’s not the only thing that break

Updated: Aug 31, 2018

Often times when I speak to students they ask me, “What is your most memorable story?” In my three and a half years of being in the news business, I have lots of memories. But I think the story that will always stand out is about a fire at a local wood pallet yard.




It was a summer day in August. Usually in Mississippi the heat and humidity can really get to a person, but this day the summer air was not too hot and the wind was blowing steadily – firefighters said it was the perfect weather conditions for the wood to combust being that the pallets were stacked close together – the other thing that was combustible under those conditions was evidently my dress. Ooops.


You see the videograper and I were rushing. The owner of the pallet yard said he didn’t want us to be on his property. I tried to negotiate with the owner, but the answer was still “No!” Just like ethical journalists we were about to leave.


Then the fire chief asked us to hold on a second. The chief went to talk to the owner. We waited, and I set the microphone, my notebook and my cell phone on the grass – bad idea. We were summoned back by the fire chief – because the owner of the pallet yard changed his mind.

Low and behold I bent over and I heard a sound…if you ever hear that sound you would know it. The videographer and I both looked at each other. The looks were of shock and amazement.


I said, “O, no…my dress just busted!”


He said, “I know!”


Yes, it is funny but we didn’t laugh at that moment because we still needed to get interviews. We went back to the truck to look for tape, pins and anything that would or we thought could hold the dress together. After a few failed attempts, we were about to give up. I asked the videographer if he would conduct the interview. He said yes. But all of a sudden it was like a light bulb turned own in the videographer’s head. He told me he had a jacket I could tie around my waist. So I did and we got the interviews.


The story doesn’t end there…we went to a house in the neighborhood to ask if the owner would give some reaction, on camera, about the fire. We lucked up, and for me it was in more ways than one. The owner of the house talked and also “saved my life…” by giving me a pair of pants – after I told her my embarrassing story.


We all laughed and then the videographer and I headed back to the studio to put the story together. The topic made for an interesting drive back to the station. We also discussed how in the midst of everything the fire chief, firefighters and pallet yard owner never knew.

The story inside of this story: There is always a chance the unexpected will happen…so just role with the punches in the end things will work out. Also, if you can’t laugh at yourself, when things are funny, you better learn because someone else will.


#MakeYourWeirdWork,

#TheJournalismEducator

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