Way back in 2003 we were on holiday in Northumbria. One lunchtime when we were back at out tent for some reason we saw smoke coming out of the tent 2 up from us (and upwind, to boot). We ran to raise the alarm, but unsurprisingly there was rather little anyone could do. We did have our video camera though, so I videoed the fire – partly for the record, and partly for the family concerned since they weren’t there. When they came back I offered to send them a copy if they wanted it.
They did send a video tape, but we were moving, and I managed to lose it in a packing box for a year. It then went on the to-do list, but every time I went to try and do it there was some issue – first the camera failed, then I lost the firewire connection lead and after several goes of assuming it would turn up had to buy another, by the time the camera was fixed I had changed to Linux and had never tried to edit video. And, of course, there were delays of a year or more each time since there was nothing riding on it. Anyway, four and a half years late I have finally sorted it. The tape is cut as a DVD (video tapes having gone the way of the dinosaur along the way), and will be in the post.
EDIT. The family concerned found my note I sent to their house last Christmas, so I am removing their name from this note – it was there so that they’d find themselves on Google, but that’s not required any more.
They comment that “You may be interested to know that we never fathomed the cause for the fire, all evidence, after conversations with a friend who’s a fireman, remained unsolved, but suggested a spark from a BBQ on a very dry tent on a very hot day – a very unfortunate accident. I know the gas bottles etc were safe, and the way the fire burned suggested a smouldering start at the back, away from any possible source of spark. A mystery it remains.” That certainly fits with what we saw – the fire started as smoke from the rear of the tent, and it took some a minute to two for the flames to appear.
I’ve uploaded the first 10 minutes of the film to YouTube, so you can all see just how fast a tent is reduced to ashes, and how big a bang even a small gas cylinder makes (at about 7 minutes 10 into the film). Now, whats the next oldest to-do?