At night, Jewel drives in the rain. She notices people running across the street and parks her car. Getting out of her car, she walks to the collapsed apartment complex and joins some residents of the neighborhood observe the first responders race inside.
A woman cries and her husband puts her arm around her, leading her away. A teenage daughter hugs her mom. A shirtless man holds his head while an emergency medical technician puts a blanket over him. A second young woman is able to get out her apartment through the window. Several first responders call out for the residents as they walk with their flashlights.
A woman in a bathrobe hugs her neighbor and they begin to rummage through the rubble. Jewel approaches them and helps by removing the pieces of wood. Underneath, the woman’s husband smiles.
She follows a man carrying an axe down an alleyway. The man kicks in the door while his friend runs inside. With their flashlights, they find three children huddling by the wall, in tears. Jewel smiles once she sees them.
One of the children holds her hand as she walks her to the ambulance.
Jewel had to help. The apartment complex was only a few blocks away from her home. She used to live there. Inside, someone could’ve been trying to make their first meal for their significant other or reading their children a story.
She walks to two women, searching through the rubble. One woman, in the bathrobe, thanked her once she saw her and was moving the wood so quickly, her hands bled. “My husband, please be okay,” she kept saying under her breath. Her neighbor assured her he would be okay. The relief on the woman’s face to see her husband alive was worth it.
A man shouted, “there are still children left in there!” She needs to know they are okay. She walks with the men and sees the children. The little girl gives her a hug and thanks her. Jewel tells her she’s safe now.
The newspaper reported the fire started from faulty wiring. Relatives of the children stated without the kindness of their neighbors, the family wouldn’t have survived. A fundraiser is going to be held for the victims. Jewel jots down the date and time. Five years ago, it could’ve been her.
She has been fortunate. She was able to finish college and find a job. Her salary allowed her to pay off her debt. In the meantime, she lived on ramen while living at the complex. Her best friend emails her about the fire, talking about the parties and talks they had there. Her boyfriend cries with her. He was always on the landlord to fix things and encouraged her to move out. Several raises later, she was able to do so. However, she knew most of the people couldn’t afford to leave.
Director: Nick Brandt Year: 1998
This post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from items purchased through them