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Rock Photos Salvaged in Haverhill Fire


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Photos picked from rubble of Haverhill fire

By Mike LaBellamlabella@eagletribune.com

The Eagle Tribune

Thu Apr 19, 2012, 03:44 AM EDT

HAVERHILL — After fire destroyed his apartment last month, Jason Cameron thought he'd lost irreplaceable photographs he'd taken of rock music legends who have inspired him since he was a boy.

His family and three other families who lived at 63 Pecker St. could only watch on the morning of March 31 as everything they owned went up in smoke — or so Cameron thought.

"Rock 'n' roll is my life," said Cameron, 41. "It got me through some difficult times when I was a kid and my parents got divorced and now I try to inspire others."

Cameron returned to the scene of the fire on Monday to search for his cat and see if demolition workers had found anything in the rubble. They did: Dozens of photographs he'd taken over the years of rock stars and bands, all of which he thought were destroyed. There was Ozzy Osborne, Ted Nugent, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose and other rock legends.

"I came back to the site to find my cat but I didn't," Cameron said. "But I did get lucky .... The demolition crew found my photographs."

Mementos of all the concerts he'd been to, all of the musicians and singers he'd met and who had posed for pictures. Their photos somehow survived the blaze, which destroyed the brick and wood frame building.

On Monday, Mike Climo of Pentucket Construction was sifting through the remaining debris while Cameron watched. Climo found a family photo album, then came across dozens of photographs of musical artists and bands.

He shouted out to Cameron, whose image was in many of the pictures, posing with the musicians.

"You're the guy in the photos," Climo said.

Climo said he often finds family mementos when working on house demolitions. "You always find something," he said. "It's not easy seeing someone's life getting tossed into a Dumpster."

Cristina Perez, 50, has been visiting the site as well and told The Eagle-Tribune this week that she lost her dog, a Chihuahua mix named "Bella," in the blaze.

Perez lived in a first floor apartment with her daughter, Grace Perez, who was at work at the time.

"I tried to get Bella out, but the smoke pushed me back," Christina Perez said. "None of the smoke alarms went off."

When firefighters arrived, Perez shouted that her dog was still inside the house. "They tried to get her out but it was too much," Perez said. "I cry for my dog every day. I am so sad."

On the morning of the fire, Cameron was at his job at Polartec in Methuen and, after getting a call from his family, he raced back to Haverhill. He breathed a sigh of relief to find everyone had gotten out safely. He hugged his fiance, Christina Turcotte; their sons Elijah, 2, and Cyrus, 4; and Turcotte's mother, Lyn Salter.

Then memories of another fire filled his thoughts.

Cameron was just months into his new job at Malden Mills on Dec. 11, 1995, when fire destroyed three buildings that were part of the textile plant. A fourth building that was not destroyed allowed the owner, Aaron Feuerstein, to rebuild.

"My department was in a small building that didn't catch fire," Cameron said. "We moved our machines into the building so as not to lose our customers and we all pulled together and sacrificed to save the company."

He told his family and neighbors that no matter what happens in life, you have to be strong.

"With hard work and determination, anything is possible," he said. "Each day is a gift and we have to live life to the fullest."

His car's license plate reads "DREAMZ."

Cameron said his company, Polartec, provided his family with blankets, jackets and shirts following the recent fire while other donations of clothing for his family and others who were displaced came from people throughout the area.

He said his family still has many challenges ahead, including finding a permanent place to live. They are currently staying at a motel in Salisbury.

Cameron said every state agency he has gone to for help has told him that because he has a job, he is not eligible for assistance.

"We went to City Hall and they told us they would try to help us," Cameron said. "People have been nice and have been sending us clothing for the children but we're really in a bind right now."


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Great story! Now......how do we help that guy put together a book so we can see his work???

I was thinking it would be great if someone scanned the photos and created an online gallery so people could purchase prints or simply make a donation.

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A story of happy and sad for obvious reasons. Sad about the cat. My best friend had a house fire after his roof was hit by lightning,The resulting fire and water damage from the firefighters meant he lost hundreds of American comic boooks, his vinyl collection dozens of books, hi fi and most of his belongings. He was in the house at the time so he was lucky not to have been injured or worse. The emotional and psychological impact still effects him and it was over16 years ago.

Pleased that his photo's etc were saved so it would be good to see them.

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