Total collapse, 2000

A Philadelphia firefighter sifts through the rubble of a building collapse in the Strawberry Mansion section of the city in 2000.

Although there were initial reports of people trapped after the building fell onto a bus stop, no injuries were reported.

During my years responding to breaking news, I found that abandoned buildings often collapsed after periods of heavy rain.

Downpour, 2005

Commuters dash thorough a downpour toward Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station in 2005.

Covering the weather was a common assignment when I was a newspaper photographer and the east side of this train station yielded many photos over the years, for several reasons.

There were always spots to drop my car, sheltered areas where I could take cover and still have a view, and plenty of commuters traveling to and from Center City.

Burning umbrellas, 2004

Firefighters aim their hoses into a burning building at the scene of a five-alarm fire in the Old City section of Philadelphia in 2004.

A friend just reminded me that several news photographers were at the Pen and Pencil Club for a photojournalism event when this incident broke out and I was among those who left to rush to the scene.

I also remember that Philadelphia Daily News photographer Elwood P. Smith, who was in his 80s at the time, beat me to the scene, back to the office and into the next day’s paper.

Whenever I see old signs on a burning building, I think about Weegee’s “Simply add boiling water,” and this is the closest I have come to catching something similar.

Date: 1/7/04, Time: 11:51:00 p.m., Shutter: 1/13, f: 4.0, ISO: 1600, Lens 80mm

Masked messengers, 2003

Two young women don vintage gas masks while waiting for a peace demonstration to kick off on Dilworth Plaza outside Philadelphia City Hall on March 20, 2003, the same day US forces invaded Iraq.

I have covered a few violent demonstrations in Philadelphia over the years but I can’t recall police ever deploying tear gas here.

Metadata info shows that I captured this image with a Nikon D1H camera, a 1/80th shutter speed and f 4.0 aperture, but focal length and ISO data is missing.

See you later, alligators, 2006

Philadelphia Police officers remove one of several alligators they were surprised to find when SWAT teams raided a home on a drug warrant in 2006.

I spent more nearly 30 years covering breaking news in American cities and this was my only alligator call.

Metadata info shows that I captured this image with a Nikon D2Hs camera, a 1/90th shutter speed and f 2.8 aperture, but focal length and ISO data is missing.