Vancouver residents featured in film about St Helens blast

first_imgUPDATE: Changed the time of Monday’s airtime to 4 p.m.Fay Blackburn lost her husband, Reid Blackburn, on Mount St. Helens in 1980.Geologist Richard Waitt spent 35 years collecting accounts from 400 survivors and witnesses.Now the two Vancouver residents are sharing their stories in a Smithsonian Channel film that debuted Sunday and repeats at 4 p.m. Monday. Their insights into the volcanic eruption on May 18, 1980, are part of the premiere episode of the Smithsonian Channel’s six-part series, “Make It Out Alive.”Fay Blackburn’s memories of the event, however, never included fuzzy pink slippers, regardless of what the film’s reenactments might indicate.That was just one of the issues she had with the re-created scenes that alternated with science lessons, archive imagery and survivor interviews. Actors fill in for principal characters — including the Blackburns — in re-creations of life-or-death moments.“I was disappointed. I never had any indication there would be reenactments,” she said.Blackburn is a retired Columbian employee. Reid Blackburn was a Columbian photographer. In its six live-or-die stories, the film lists the characters as photographer, veteran, vulcanologist, camper, student and lumberjack. Three lived; three were among the 57 who died.If you substituted “old curmudgeon” for “veteran,” a lot of people around here would immediately know who the three victims were, which takes away some of the suspense.There is a bit of early scene-setting by Waitt, author of “In the Path of Destruction: Eyewitness Chronicles of Mount St. Helens.”Click, zip, clickIn addition to providing scientific background, Waitt offers some narration of survival stories. After the student, Keith Ronnholm, woke up to an erupting volcano, he couldn’t decide whether to put on his pants or take photographs.last_img

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