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Viewfinder | A Burning Passion


Ralph Feldman, 76, was a fireman in the Bronx with Engine 45 for two decades, and then in Harlem with Engine 37 for several years. Before retiring about 26 years ago, he served as a fire marshal intermittently. In 1969, he bought a building at 315 East Eighth Street and in the 1970s and ’80s he photographed fires near there, sometimes giving a hand to his fellow firefighters.

On his block of mostly vacant buildings, there were as many as five fires a week, said Mr. Feldman. “At the same time when the Bronx was burning, the East Village was burning,” he said. “All of Brooklyn was burning. In the ’70s and ’80s, big portions of the city burnt down.” Mr. Feldman spoke with The Local about his photos.
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