Take some photographs vertically. Turn the camera sideways and you'll find that often times, the subject looks better.

Published 11:35 pm Monday, June 25, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell and Kerry Whipple Bean
Sound asleep just before dawn Wednesday, Betty Adkison awoke suddenly when her cat pounced on her stomach.
Speedy the cat - who was not allowed in Adkison's room or in her bed - helped save the lives of Adkison and the two granddaughters who live with her.
But what happened when local volunteer fire departments tried to save Adkison's house illustrates the challenges that those local volunteers encounter every day.
Communication problems
Awakened by the cat, Adkison, still half-asleep, walked to her kitchen to investigate.
Adkison called 911. Then she called her daughter, who lives next door.
While Adkison searched her home for evidence of a fire, Escambia County 911 operators were trying to reach the Wallace Volunteer Fire Department.
At 5:56 a.m., David Morris, the Wallace VFD chief, received a phone call at his house from the sheriff's department.
Bad weather the previous evening had caused problems for the communication system 911 operators use to contact the volunteer departments, officials said.
Mechanical problems
Morris contacted his volunteers to head to Adkison's house on Wildfork Road in the Foshee community. He dispatched two fire trucks to the scene, along with other firefighters.
But both trucks broke down on the way, Morris said. Somewhere along the way, an engine gasket blew and one truck became disabled, all while flames engulfed Adkison's home.
Still, several firefighters arrived to help secure the scene.
By that time, Adkison and her daughter, Bette Simmons, had been gathering as much as they could from the house. &#8220As we worked, the fire finally burned through the ceiling, and the house began to fill up with smoke,” Adkison said. &#8220We knew then we had to get out and stay out.”
With the Wallace fire trucks out of commission, Morris had 911 operators make a backup call to Pineview-Foshee Volunteer Fire Department.
Communications problems persisted.
Pineview firefighters responded, but they ran into problems of their own.
The best for Pineview-Foshee VFD involved being responsible for thousands of gallons of water that helped to fight the blaze.
Frustrating scene
As Pineview and Wallace firefighters worked, volunteers from three more departments - McCall, Friendship and Barnett's Crossroads - arrived and began to help.
By 9 a.m., they were still battling smoke and trying to help clean up the scene.
Still, the home was a total loss.
Adkison and both children escaped uninjured, but with very few belongings.
As the family stood on the edge of the roadway in front of their home, the calls of parakeets and cockatiels that had escaped the home could be heard coming from the trees.
Adkison said she also had a family of kittens, 16 between the two homes, on the property as well.
A large, fluffy black cat could be seen wandering around the property where the residence is situated.
By the end of the week, all of the cats - including hero of the day Speedy - and all but one of the birds showed up, family members said.
But for some of the other heroes of the day, the equipment and communication problems they encountered remained frustrating.

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