This (Monday) morning's fire in the Caldecott Tunnel (caused by an auto accident) brought back chilling memories of 1982's horrific blaze in the tunnel--also caused by a car accident and ensuing tanker blaze-- that killed seven motorists.
Overhead shots by KGO and KTVU choppers this morning were vivid and disturbing, early on. People could be seen leaving their car and walking outside the Oakland side of the tunnel.
My question: where were the live shots? Not one local TV station sent a reporter to the scene. (At press time) Amazing. Fortunately, KTVU's steady traffic anchor, Sal Castaneda, became the eyes and ears of the ongoing story providing viewers his phone conversations with the CHP. It would have been nice for 2 to send a reporter to the scene --after all, KTVU is but a few miles away in Jack London Square in Oakland and the story deserved a live shot. Information was scarce.
To its credit, KCBS Radio sent Jeffrey Schaub to the scene and got an eyewitness account shortly after the 8 AM news open and Kim Wonderley reported on the traffic conditions which soon became the focal point of the story as no one was hurt inside the tunnel and the fire was eventually extinguished.
Schaub went so far as to go inside the tunnel at 8: 30 and described the scene soon after. Good deed.
Given the sometimes extraordinary pace and frenzy of a Monday morning commute and news, it can be a challenge for assignment editors to get a crew to the scene of a story--but this story deserved more prominence. Later on it became the top news story of the morning as it should have been.
Better late then never.
KRON relied on its studio anchors and overhead shots (courtesy KGO)--KNTV (NBC Bay Area) and KPIX pretty much stuck with network programming and local updates.
*Follow me on Twitter