Thoughts about the Fire - Elle Danielle Photography

Thoughts about the Fire

I left home at 3:00 p.m. In the time it took to drive seven blocks, I could already see the smoke in the distance. I was on the phone, wondering if it was my son’s school, the apartment complex across the street, perhaps one of the business on 2nd Ave.. It wasn’t until I saw the police cars and fire trucks on my block, that I considered it could be my building on fire.


Immediately, friends started calling and texting, as images of flames shooting up from the roof found their way onto social media sites and the news.  Other tenants and neighbors gathered, as we all watched gallons and gallons of water pour over the side of the building. For the first few minutes, I was ok… taking in the situation and processing what was happening.  Then, I started to freak out a little.  Things are just things, but I was worried about my camera equipment, my computer, all of my files.  I had a wedding in less than 48 hour. What if all of my equipment was destroyed?

I pushed the worry from my mind and concentrated on the possibility that everything would work out…

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.  And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Luke 12:22-26

During the fire and in the week and a half since, I have reflected on a lot, but want to share these two things —


When I tell potential clients that I will not send a DVD or thumb drive of their images, I explain that an added benefit of cloud storage is their wedding being safely stored “in the cloud” for 10 years. I have been using PASS since it first launched. There are a number of companies offering similar services, and I won’t attempt to tell you the finite differences between each or debate the pros and cons of one company over another. All I can say is that, as I worked through my fire anxiety, I found comfort in knowing that all of my client’s wedding memories were safe.

Online storage of current, on-going, or personal work is also crucial. I will be re-evaluating all of my back-up methods and ensuring that all of data is safe, should another catastrophic even occur.


Before I knew the fate of my equipment, arrangements had been made for me to borrow all of the equipment I needed and am used to working with, for my Saturday wedding, from the community of photographers I associate with. I have witnessed so many instances of outpouring of love, to photographers in difficult situations, and was able to experience it first-hand on that day. Regardless of your industry, it is important to be authentic, to build relationships, and surround yourself with colleagues who will lift you up in a time of need.

Thankfully, my equipment was not damaged. The Birmingham Fire Department was able to put the fire out in less than an hour and no one was hurt.  At least three units sustained fire damage, while the majority of the remaining units (mine included) sustained water and smoke damage.  Things were lost and will eventually be replaced, and we still have not been able to return to our homes, but I am thankful. Thankful for protection, for all of my friends who called during and after to check on us, for the ladies of Pursuit 31, Church of the Highlands, and for Tyrus, Rachel, and Shayla (+Tyson and the entire Aguillard/Roberson bunch), who were there during the chaos.

Photo by Nik Layman Photo Video

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  1. Tiki Merritt Curry says:

    So glad you guys are okay and still have things that were not damage or can be replaced!!! I have a little something, something coming your way that I hope will put a smile on your face!!

  2. Heather Banks Hampton says:

    glad you were okay and didn’t experience a total loss.

  3. D Jerome Smedley says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Thank God you and your son are ok. You are one of the best who would help someone at the drop of a hat. It’s no surprise that the spirit of giving and help is returned to such a worthy soul.
    Praying for you, yours and all the families affected by the fire. God bless you all.

  4. Sara Cotten says:

    Wow – I had no idea! :S But so very thankful that your family is safe and all is well!

  5. Crystal Goodson Wilkerson says:

    Thanks for sharing. Did you notice the creepy spider on the photo?

  6. Ann Lee Photography says:

    I had no idea! I’m so glad you all are safe and that you had support in your time of need. Continued prayers darlin!

  7. Brie Buchanan says:

    OMG!!! I cant believe this! So glad you guys are ok. Things are just things … but they are our things – the things that make up our life. So I understand the worry! Glad the important things are safe though! You and yours!!

  8. Dae Horne-Esq says:

    I didn’t realize this happened to you. So glad you are okay!!

  9. […] the fire forced me to leave Birmingham on May 22nd, I expected to return after a few weeks. So, I spent the […]

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