I was 10-years-old when an entire city block in Philadelphia went up in flames during the MOVE stand-off .
It was the biggest news story of my young life, and I was glued to the TV. I watched as 60 houses burned to the ground, leaving hundreds homeless. I remember my mother pointing out to me that those families didn't just lose their homes, their furniture and all their toys. She told me they lost their photo albums and childhood mementos, like the shoes she'd saved from when I just started walking.
I thought of her words yesterday while in southern New Jersey covering a major wildfire. Two homes in a retirement community were burned down to their foundations. We were allowed within a couple feet them. There, amongst a pile of charred vappliances, I saw a singed scrapbook.
It contained what was left of a lifetime of memories: birthday cards, newspaper clippings, photographs of what appeared to be three generations of women posing at what I'm sure was an important family event, and irreplaceable snapshots from the 30s and 40s. I wanted to gather these memories up and take them to the shelter in hopes of finding their elderly owner. But yellow "Caution" tape kept me back.
News outlets love to cover major fires. Orange flames and columns of smoke make for good TV. It's easy to get wrapped up in all the action ... but thanks to my mom, I won't miss the real story.
Kathleen Foster is a general assignment Field Producer based in New York. She started at FOX as an intern in 1996. She has covered the Iraq war, the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, and the fight for Anna Nicole's body.