IN PICTURES: Fire, a classic element that destroys and delights

Photo Gallery Saturday is a monthly photo series by the Long Beach Post staff that aims to highlight unique scenes across the city. To contact us, email Visuals Editor Thomas R. Cordova at [email protected]. These photos are not Photoshopped. 

Fire changes everything.

Along with earth, water and air, it’s one of the four classic elements and, like the others, it can help you or it can hurt you.

Fire is mesmerizing, mysterious. It’s alluring, comforting, deadly, ferocious. Since it was first harnessed by man (such as man was) a million years ago, fire has provided warmth and sustenance. It was used for cooking, for crafting tools and pottery and over the ensuing thousands of years it’s led to all manner of advancements in technology, manufacturing and touching our lives in thousands of ways.

At the same time it’s been a huge destructive force in destroying forests and buildings, causing unfathomable damage through war, arson, accidents and other forms of mayhem. Fire is, in short, is both essential and terrifying. We need it desperately, and we fear it mightily.

The Post’s photographers studied fire in its latest collection of visual work, from Cheantay Jensen’s photos of fire at a dentist’s office to Crystal Niebla’s pictures of candlelight vigils.

— Tim Grobaty 

Agustín Romo squints at the flames wilding from a saucepan on inside his kitchen of Casa Chaskis, a Peruvian restaurant in West Long Beach, on Thursday, June 17, 2021. Photo by Crystal Niebla.

Fire crews begin to clean up after extinguishing a fire at a dentistry in West Long Beach Tuesday, July 6, 2021. Photo by Cheantay Jensen.

A woman holds a candle and lowers her eyes in prayer during a vigil honoring the life of 54-year-old Derrick Smith at Century Villages at Cabrillo in West Long Beach on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Smith was killed in a hit-and-run on Saturday, June 12, 2021. Photo by Crystal Niebla.

Families light off fireworks on the streets of Lakewood, Sunday, July 4, 2021. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Fire crews exiting the family dentistry after extinguishing a 2nd-alarm fire Tuesday, July 6, 2021. Photo by Cheantay Jensen.

A woman holds a candles during a candlelight vigil honoring the life of 54-year-old Derrick Smith at Century Villages at Cabrillo in West Long Beach on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Smith was killed in a hit-and-run on Saturday, June 12, 2021. Photo by Crystal Niebla.

Flames form as they rise from a fire pit in Buena Park Friday, July 9, 2021. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

A boy stares at a vigil display honoring the life of 54-year-old Derrick Smith at Century Villages at Cabrillo in West Long Beach on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Smith was killed in a hit-and-run while at work at a security guard at the housing community on Saturday, June 12, 2021. Photo by Crystal Niebla.

Flames rise from a fire pit in Buena Park Friday, July 9, 2021. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Fire crews attend to the roof of the family dentistry on Willow Ave. Tuesday, July 6, 2021. Photo by Cheantay Jensen.

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