Kent mill fire was national front page news for firefighters

A Kent resident's photo made the cover of a trade magazine for firefighters.

It’s not exactly the cover of Rolling Stone, but Kent’s Star of the West mill fire has reached a national audience.

Kent resident Jerry Jividen’s photograph of the fire is on this month’s cover of Firehouse Magazine, a publication aimed at America’s 1.2 million firefighters.

A retired teacher and amateur-turned-professional photographer, Jividen was relaxing at home Dec. 2 when the phone rang.

“My wife [Jill Jividen] has an office in downtown Kent,” he recalled. “She’s driving to work, she sees smoke coming out of the granary, she calls me, she says, ‘Get your camera down here now.’”

Knowing he would be recording history, Jividen positioned himself on the Main Street bridge and began shooting pictures. To this day, Jividen said he does not know who brought his work to the Firehouse Magazine staff’s attention.

“I had put the photos on my Facebook site, and somebody saw them and sent them down to Firehouse Magazine’s editor,” Jividen said. “He got a hold of me and said, ‘Would it be possible if we published these in our magazine?’ I said, ‘Sure,’ so I looked at his website, and they were all legit.”

After looking at’s website to make sure the deal was legitimate, Jividen signed the required contracts and sent the photographs. He also made a double-matted photograph of the cover image and took it to Kent’s fire station.

“They went crazy. I got to meet everybody. One of the guys there and I became good buddies, and he gave me a royal tour,” Jividen said.

About a week later Jividen returned to the station to present the firefighters with a book of all the mill fire photos he’d taken.

“They were just astounded and so happy. Now they’re nationally renowned because they’re on the front cover of the Firehouse Magazine that goes across the country to all the different firemen,” he said.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.