Fires Were Started

Synopsis: A new man joins the civilian firefighters at a London unit during the Second World War. He meets his fellow firemen and firewomen, manages to enjoy some leisure time with them, and then goes on his first mission with the crew as it attempts to save an explosives warehouse on Trinidad Street near the London docks.
63 min

( Orchestra plays

heroic introduction)

( Relentless pulsing theme)

(Bell clangs)

- Good morning, girls.

- Good morning.

Heavy Unit 1

returned from workshops.

- Have you got the docket.

- Yes.

Send it up to Local, will you?

She looks all right.

Fire station.

Heavy unit P231

returned from workshops. OK?

He said, "Gawd blimey, if ever I get

out of this I'll join the Fire Brigade."

- And did he?

- No, that's the funny part of it...

(Conversation fades...)

Come on, my son,

let's see what you can do this time.

(Woman calls)

Johnny! Johnny!



(Woman) Come on, you'll be late.

Good man. I'll have to see

my manager about you.

Can't stand a lot of that.

Come on.

- Hello, Joe.

- Hello, James. How are you?

Very well, thanks.

- Nice weekend?

- Lovely. Did you have a nice one?

Yes, fair enough.

- Have you got a newspaper?

- Slinged it.

- What?

- It's awful.

- Ta-ra, ducks.

- Goodbye my dear.

Don't do nothing silly,

will you, Sid?


See you.

Can you tell me where

Alderman's Wharf is mate, please?

It's just over there, look.

Thank you.

(Church bell tolls)

( Tin whistle plays chirpy tune)

Good morning, Colonel.

- Morning, Sub.

- Are you all right?

Ah, not so bad.

Kippers for breakfast tomorrow, Charlie.

- Good morning, girls.

- Morning, Sub.

Morning, Charlie.

(Men greeting Charlie)

- Good morning, George.

- Morning.

(All cheer)

Morning, Sub. Morning, girls.

Good morning, Sub.

Morning Mrs Dean. Morning, Eileen.

Have you got the local?

- Anything special?

- Nothing much.

Why, that's quite like old times,

isn't it?

The old man will be pleased.

Get a cracker here, Johnny boy,

she's back again.

About time too!

- Who's Barrett?

- New bloke from training school.

Fall in, chaps.

Excuse me. Er, could you tell me

where the Fire Station is?

- Yes.

- 14 Y.

14 Y, turn three corner here.

A-ha. Thank you very much.

Morning, Mrs Townsing.

Morning, Eileen.

Morning Betsy. There's two heavy units

and two TP's on the run there.

Two heavy units and two TP's?

So the heavy unit's back, is it?


I don't know.

Oh well...

It's all right for you, you know.

You're going off...

I'm coming on!

Looks a bit different

with a bit of paint on, Johnny.

Yes, it does, Joe, dunnit.

There's something in that.

An' if I had the time...

- Come on, Colonel, pumps and tackle.

- All right!

Me and you, Jacko, we'll go

and get the long ladders. Come on.

- Wait till I've put these in the lockers.

- Yeah, hurry up.

Cheerio, Charlie.

It'll be a long night tonight. Full moon.

Might be handy.

- 14 Y, please.

- Yes.

Would you tell me where

the Watch Room is?

- Straight up there and up the staircase.

- Thank you.

- Right. Cheerio, Charlie.

- Cheerio, George.

- The name's Barrett.

- Sub, here's Barrett.

Sorry I'm a bit late,

but they kept me at 14.

- You found us all right then?

- Yes, thank you, sir.

- Johnny!

- Who, me?

Yes, you.

Come up here a minute.

We're in trouble again, Colonel.

That's what comes of working

under this window.

Where's he going to sleep?

There's a spare bed in the Monk House,

you'd better put him in there.

What do you want, Sub?

Johnny, this is Barrett.

Barrett, that's Johnny Daniels,

driver of the heavy unit.

- Pleased to meet you.

- Pleased to meet you, mate.

- How d'you do?

- How are you?

Now listen, I want you to take him over

to Monkey House,

let him stow his gear

then show him round,

and unload him

on them geezers outside, got it?

Right-o, Sub.

Come this way, will ya, boy?

We mustn't work too hard my friends.

We've got to make this last

till one o'clock.

I beg your pardon.

Come on, ain't you finished

with that pump!

OK, Skipper.

We'd better meet the boys.

This is Joe Valiance.

The fella down there

is B.A. Brown.

He'll sell you a pair of braces

in a minute, if you're not careful.

And that old bagpipe

over the back there is Rumbold.

And this is our little ray

of sunshine, Jacko.

Boys, this is Barrett.

Another one for

the poker school, Joe.

Oh, sweet mystery of love and life,

I've found you...

(Both humming tune)

(Continue humming song)

Lift, Colonel. Right up.

Catch hold of it, Bill.

Right, a bit to you.

That's it. It's there.

I would die to be beside the seaside

I would like to be beside the sea

Johnny, have you got

everything on board you ought to have?

Yes, I should think so.

Well, thank goodness,

that's something.

I would like to stroll upon

the prom, prom, prom

With the brass band playing

tiddly um, pom, pom

Get me the return of appliances,

would you?

Y Station.

Two heavy units and two TP's.

Thank you.

Two heavies, two TP's, Sub.

(Woman) 'Control here. Can I have

your return of appliances, please?

'One heavy unit...

three trailer pumps...

'and one heavy unit off the run,

shortage of riders.'

Thank you.

V Station, Sub:
one heavy unit,

three trailer pumps

and one heavy unit off the run -

shortage of riders.


(Woman) ' Can I have return

of your appliances, please?

'Two heavy units.

'One Water Unit, one Ramp Lorry.

'Thank you.'

Control here.

Can I have the return

of your appliances, please?

'Two heavy units and two TP's.

Thank you.'

( Rapidly flowing music)

(Older woman) 'Return of

the appliances for today:

'26 pumps, one turntable ladder,

'one escape carrying unit,

'one water unit, one ramp lorry.'

( Cymbal rings out)

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Humphrey Jennings

Frank Humphrey Sinkler Jennings (19 August 1907 – 24 September 1950) was an English documentary filmmaker and one of the founders of the Mass Observation organisation. Jennings was described by film critic and director Lindsay Anderson in 1954 as: "the only real poet that British cinema has yet produced." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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