On June 10, 1999, Ryan Larrabee was 19 and had just returned to Bellingham via train from Virginia. He was driving his brother to get a haircut when the ruptured fuel pipeline in Whatcom Falls Park ignited, sending a giant black cloud soaring into the sky.
Larrabee grabbed his camera and began taking pictures, including this one from the intersection of Alabama Street and Cornwall Avenue.
It turned out that Larrabee had ties to the three youths killed in the disaster. He was a Sehome High schoolmate of 18-year-old Liam Wood; he knew a relative of 10-year-old Stephen Tsiorvas; and he had been a camp counselor-in-training to 10-year-old Wade King.
"I had him in my cabin the previous year at Fircreek," Larrabee said. "He always had a smile on his face."
Reach DEAN KAHN at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2291.