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Being a lover of all things related to the Fire Service, this has become one of my favourite books. Originally published in the early 1970's by author Dennis Smith, it has been republished in 1999, with a new introduction by Mr Smith.
I found this book, by reading a different book by Dennis Smith (Report from Ground Zero) and this title being mentioned several times throughout that book. I was intrigued and just had to see what this book was like. I did some digging around and could not locate it anywhere, so had to special order it in a second hand bookshop. They located it and I had to part with £45 for the book. Since it's republication, you can find this on Amazon new for £3!!!!
Dennis Smith was a Firefighter for the city of New York during what is known as the war years. He joined in the 60's and retired after 18 years. After a few years service, he transferred into Engine Company 82, located in the South Bronx and at that time, the busiest fire engine in the USA, possibly the world. This book is set within the confines of this Engine Company (hence the title) and is after around 5 years of being with this company.
The book is not set in a chronological order as such, but I believe is set in a year of his time at the company. Throughout the book, Smith details some historical event that have occurred during his time with the department and events that happen while he is writing the book. It details the frustrations of dealing with false alarms, dealing with overdoses and a severe lack of sleep and food whilst working (the company attending as many as 30 incidents in a single 8 hour shift).
It is not all doom and gloom though. Smith does detail some happier moments of saving people from fire and property and belongings of the people of the community. He goes into what it is like in the firehouse and the bond the firefighter's have with each other.
The new version is 260 pages long. There are no pictures or illustrations, just pure writing. I have the original copy, so do not know what the new introduction is like. It can only add to what is a great book. I have read this book more times than I care to remember and once I start it, I can't put it down until it's finished. If you are into fire service stuff, then I thoroughly recommend this book to you, you won't be disappointed.