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Call the Fire Brigade The place is London England the era 1970’s In the capitol of the UK millions of people call London home However a brave few view this metropolis as a challenging workplace and formidable battlefield Enter the courageous London Fire Brigade as seen through the eyes of one of its former members Allan Grice For than thirty years Grice worked the mean streets of London’s East End; home to an impoverished population of Blue Collar workers indigent suatters and gangsters such as the infamous Kray Brothers With apathy and poverty comes a myriad of human suffering and destruction summoning Grice and his valiant compatriots to one modern disaster after another From tenement fires a devastating train derailment and harrowing warehouse fire which was at the time the biggest conflagration since the Blitz There’s no shortage of heroism tragedy or dark humor on the East End Watch Allan Grice takes the reader into the sacred halls of the firehouse through candid points of view from those on his Watch and the dirty and gritty work of being a firefighter in the 1970’s He even takes the reader to the States to meet up with the venerable crew of Engine 82 in the Bronx; where New York’s Bravest graciously welcomed one of their fellow firefighters from across the pond into their firehouse family After running calls with the FDNY for two shifts there really isn’t much difference between the poverty of the Bronx and the degradation of London’s East End Thankfully there is one constant the firefighters who answer the call for someone’s worst day Whether across the pond in London or in New York City firefighters always come when you call Author Allan Grice does an exemplary job describing the humor of the firehouse the emotional and professional mindset of a London Firefighter as well as the danger of confronting a litany of crisis situations on the frontline of London’s East End The 1970’s were a turbulent time for the world and first responders were struggling to make the best out of ridiculously chaotic situations with limited modern day euipment and training In the end what made the difference between victory and defeat was a band of brothers who ran into danger to turn the tide on disaster Having seen numerous documentaries on the London Fire Brigade and watched the famed series “London’s Burning” Allan Grice’s “Call the Fire Brigade” is an excellent source for historians firefighting scholars and firefighters alike I was lucky to find this book on Audible and after listening to it Allan Grice’s literary memoir puts a very human face to the London Fire Brigade during a time in history when London truly was Burning My grandad really wanted me to read this and I got 3 pages in and couldn't bring myself to finish it I'm sure it's a great book but for those a little older FreighterHaving spent 8 years at Clerkenwell C27 this book is an excellent read and depicts the work of the fireman Fast paced and action packed in places and a little slow in others But tracks the highs and lows of an LFB member in 1970's First book of this subject I've read so not a lot to compare it to but it kept me entertained and well informed as to the make up and workings of the LFB Worth a read Working as a fireman in London’s East End during the early 1970s was no easy ride In the years before workplace health and safety legislation had started to exert its grip Allan Grice had to cut his fire and rescue teeth without the advantages of a breathing apparatus for each member of his crew Back then the time tested strategy was to ‘get in’ – to crawl below the intense heat and ‘eat’ the thick smoke – in order to locate a missing child or to halt a rapidly spreading infernoIn Call the Fire Brigade Grice recounts his most memorable experiences as a front line member of the London Fire Brigade working the city’s East End with its myriad commercial premises brooding Thames side warehouses seedy tenements and colourful cosmopolitan community ranging from prosperous manufacturers to down and out winos with their body warming bonfires in derelict housesFires in factories tenements and warehouses and non fire emergencies such as the Moorgate Tube disaster of 1975 are graphically described while the elation of rescue the sadness of being too late to save lives and the warm camaraderie of fire crews during some of the capital’s busiest peacetime years are vividly depicted

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