Jul 3, 2012 7:13 PM by Andy Koen

A view from the fire lines

Street by street though the Mountain Shadows neighborhood last Tuesday Colorado Springs Fire Department audio video specialist Steve Schopper recorded the unimaginable.

"There were certain streets that I was uncomfortable going through, you're seeing smoke and fire going across the street, I'm not exactly sure where it turns to the left or turns to the fire or what," Schopper said.

Trained as both firefighter and videographer, Schopper and recent fire academy graduate Clint Mestas soon found themselves called into duty with whatever they could get their hands on. They were recording efforts to keep a burning house from spreading when hot embers caught a nearby roof on fire.

Mestas searched the property and found a garden hose to douse the spot fire.

"Right there underneath on the home, there was the spigot there was the hose able to put it out very quickly," Mestas said.

Schopper says what struck him most was showing his video later to other firefighters. So many of them were focused on just their one part of the fire, they had no idea how big it really was.

The video will become a valuable document in city history. Beyond that, it will serve as a teaching tool for future generations of firefighters.

"We'll use this footage over and over again, and we don't sit on this footage, we share this with every agency that was there and even those that weren't there to go: this is what we did well, this is what we could improve upon."

Mestas and and the rest of his class actually graduated on Friday. An official ceremony has not yet been scheduled.

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.

  • Story Photo
    A still image from Steve Schopper's video of the Waldo Canyon Fire
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    Steve Schopper
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    Clint Mestas
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