Film photography by Michelle Kilfeather
In October 2017, a series of wild fires swept through parts of Napa, Sonoma, Solano, and Mendocino counties, claiming the lives of many residents, leveling houses and business structures, displacing families, and killing livestock and other animals.
San Francisco Chronicle reporter Kevin Fagan, who had already covered many disasters in addition to writing prize-winning stories about the homeless population in the city, was sent to cover the conflagration up north.
In this episode of Storied: San Francisco, Kevin will describe what it was like to be on the front lines of that disaster. He will talk about being there to get a story, and how the same was true for a murder scene he once visited in the city.
Here are some of Kevin's stories from the Chronicle on the fires:
In 2003, San Francisco Chronicle editors put Kevin and a photographer on the streets, literally, to live among the homeless population in order to really capture what that life was like.
In Part 2, Kevin talks about life on the streets of San Francisco, specifically right around the time of Super Bowl 50, in early 2016. Around 350 homeless people moved from the foot of Market Street, where a makeshift party area was constructed for the football game, to an area under the 101 onramp, on Division Street. It was there that Kevin and a photographer, Lea Suzuki, met Kathy Gray, a transgender Army veteran. Part 2 is all about Kathy's journey.
Here is Kevin and Lea's latest story about Kathy (and other homeless people from Division Street):
It's fair to say that homelessness is Kevin's favorite beat. The veteran SF Chronicle reporter was the only beat reporter in the U.S. covering homelessness full-time from 2003 to 2006. It was during that time that he met Jill May.
Part 3 is all about Jill.
Be sure to listen all the way through this episode to hear a song Kevin played for Jill.