i see fire


Right after New Year’s we were found ourselves in the south of Bulgaria, trying to reach tiny Kovachevitsa — a preserved old village famous for its beautiful surroundings in the Rhodope mountains, the hospitality of the locals and the great food. As we were driving, we saw some smoke coming up over the hill not 5km away from our destination. Initially we didn’t make much of it, but then it got stronger and darker and soon we realized what was happening — a house in the village of Gorno Dryanovo was on fire!


Cars couldn’t really pass as the main road was right behind the house so we stood on the opposite side and just watched. The flames engulfed the house within minutes.


As they were waiting for the fire brigade to arrive, the people from the town had formed a line down to the river and were passing water in buckets.


Despite their efforts though, the fire kept on going and the smoke continued rising up high in the air.


The fire truck finally came and started taking control over the situation. Though from where we were standing, it appeared that more than one house had caught fire so I decided to investigate and get closer.


Walking around, I quickly realized it was indeed 3 houses that were right next to each that were burning. The local guys and the firefighters were working side by side to put them out.


People were running in the burning buildings, trying to rescue as much of their property as possible.


You could see the tears in the eyes of some of the people around. I dared not ask if it was her house…


The firefighters seemed to have taken care of the big flames, but there was still a lot of smoke and lingering smaller fires throughout the houses.


Kudos to the men who volunteered to help and were doing no less than the firefighters themselves.


More concerned faces. It’s small village, everybody knows everybody and if it’s not you, then friends of yours likely have this misfortune.


Even younger guys were helping out.


Team work.


This guy was frantically trying to salvage things and kept on running in and out of the buildings.


Getting the wood out of the way was with high priority.


He seemed to be in charge.


The onlookers also helped, forming lines and carrying smaller items away from the fire.


I have no clue how he found time to chat on his phone…


After about an hour, the fire was more or less under control but we were told we would’t be able to pass for another hour at least so we decided to head back down. From a distance, you could see how the entire roof of the building was gone.


One last look back at the village. From here it was like nothing had happened and life just went on as it always does.


C’est la vie.



  • I would love to talk to you more about these images! I actually lived in Gorno Dryanovo for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer and all of these people are very very close to my heart. Phenomenal images that you captured! Thank you so much for sharing. Please be in touch if you can!

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