Why We Posted — And Did Not Delete — The Video of the Ash Street Fire Rescue Attempt

melted gutters, soffit and fascia
Melted and charred window frame, soffit and fascia from the intense heat and flames. (ENEWSPF)

By Gary Kopycinski

We hit a sore spot this week among some of our readers when we published video of firefighters/paramedics removing victims from the still-smoking fire in the first block of Ash Street. There were several comments under the story on eNews Park Forest urging, ordering us, to remove the first video.

The one that shows firefighters/paramedics carrying victims from the fire.

Victims. Residents. Neighbors. Family, to some.

The truth is, I published this video because I saw firefighters/paramedics attempting a daring, heroic rescue.

Frankly, this is the toughest video I ever posted.

When I left the scene of the fire, I did not know the outcome. Did not know that two would eventually be declared dead.

I recorded firefighters entering a building still on fire, a building still throwing smoke.

Firefighters and paramedics trying to resuscitate two victims.

That’s what I posted.

I called St. James in Chicago Heights, was told "no comment" as to the condition of the two. It was only four hours after the video was posted that I learned the two had died.

By that time, other media outlets in the Chicagoland area had used our video.

I learned from a reporter at a major Chicago newspaper that the video already aired on WGN television. I suspect very strongly that other Chicago and perhaps national networks may have used it as well.

That’s okay. We use a standard YouTube.com license on our account.

Some demanded we remove the second video. One person called.

Another emailed, "I wish I could post on your site without using ‘the facebook.’ While some may consider your posting of the fire video in bad taste – maybe I even feel this way. people are demanding this video to be removed? Censorship is a very powerful thing. [sic]"

Indeed, censorship is a very, very powerful thing.

I posted video of firefighters/paramedics entering an inferno to try to rescue two Park Foresters from the smoke and flames.

The smoke and flames won. That is the tragedy.

The video records the work of the heroes.