Bill Noonan Fire Photographer, Boston Fire Department

  What was the largest incident you ever responded to?


  What was the largest incident you ever responded to? Commissioner Marty Pierce sent me to the Worcester Cold Storage fire in December 1999 where six firefighters died on Sunday, three days into the operation. Boston had sent units to assist in the operations. That was very...


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A couple of years ago, we had a multiple in the middle of the night; it went to three alarms. Soon after I arrived, I heard a firefighter yell that they thought they had a victim, but it was an animal, but a few minutes later while conducting the initial search of the third floor, they found two kids in a closet. As soon as it was safe, I made my way to the third floor to photograph the two victims, then there was a wait as this fire turned into an arson/homicide. It was tough to see those two kids. We were held over and I didn't get home until almost 2200 hours. A very long tour, but eventually there was a conviction. I like to think the photos helped with the conviction.

Some days, you just went from fire to fire to fire and when you went home you went right to bed. During the arson fires of the early 1980s, you were up all night long. One night I responded to four multiple-alarm fires after midnight. All were arson.

How do the troops like the group shots you take of them?

They love them, or at least they said they did.

Do you have a favorite type of photo you like to compose?

I always liked the photos of just one or two firefighters working, whether it be a firefighter on a ladder opening up, a nozzleman close up or two guys using the "Jaws" to free a trapped motorist.