I worked at a house fire the other day.  I posted about this event previously.  While at the fire, my camera was damaged.

When I am at an incident and am carrying my camera, I keep it on a lanyard around my neck.  The camera hangs inside my turnout gear.  It is as protected as I am while working.  When I have time to take pictures, I can unzip my coat a few inches and get the camera out.  When I’m done taking my picture or the situation changes, I can toss the camera inside my jacket, pull up the zipper, and I’m ready to go.  The camera stays as cool (or warm) and dryish as I do.

At the fire the other day, I took the camera off my neck to take a picture at arm’s length through a window.

CIMG1766

(Twenty or thirty minutes earlier I broke this window and several others with a halligan bar.)

I had the lanyard wrapped around my wrist at first.  Acting as safety officer for the incident, I was walking around the  building, observing the activities on three sides and watching for unsafe practices.  A few minutes after I took this photo, I stopped to help unravel a downed electerical wire, a clothesline, and a hoseline.  Without thinking I tossed my camera, a Casio EX-Z300, inside my jacket.

After working out the tangle, I walked around to the other side of the house.  I reached for my camera and realized with growing horror what had happened; my camera was not in my jacket, was not around my neck.  It had slipped through my coat and been lost somewhere.

I went back around the house and ran across my chief; he walking around the house in my direction.  He had found my camera after stepping on it where it had dropped into the muck; the uneven mud that had been a dirt dooryard before we started pouring water on and stomping through it.

The camera looked bad.

There was mud ground into the little lens cover shutters.  The shutters were open partly. The lens itself was retracted; mud was ground between the rings comprising the extending walls of the focal space.

Dismayed, I cleaned off the camera as best I could.  I didn’t have and wasn’t wearing anything that was even slightly absorbent.  I managed to get much of the big stuff off with my nomex hood.

I realized that the camera was going to have to be repaired or replaced.  I really wanted to be able to use my camera.

Expecting little, I pressed the power switch.  The camera tried to extend, moving out from the body a quarter inch or so.  It retracted.  The shutter over the lens never moved, fixed partly open.

I pressed the button a number of times.  Each time, the lens would come out a little farther.  Finally I extended all of the way.  The shutters covering the lens were still partly open.  I managed to push them to the side with my fingernail.

I used the camera for several more hours.

Last night, after my return, I found that the battery had discharged the camera more quickly than usual.  Today I have been using my camera after recharging the battery; I find that the photo quality is still excellent.  After being dropped in the mud and stepped on my a firefighter, my camera has continued to operate.  The lens shutters are fixed open; the extend/retract is a little messed up and sometimes, maybe 40% of the time at most, won’t do as I request.  Other than that, though, the camera is tip-top.

The camera still shoots fine pictures despite having been dropped in the mud and stepped on by a firefighter.

The camera needs to go for repair but I despair at the thought of not having it with me.

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