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Before the outbreak of the Troubles, a typical firefighter’s year might have included call-outs to chimney fires, the occasional house fire or road accident, and – even more rarely – a large factory or hay shed fire. While a firefighting career was always inherently exciting and risky, for most firefighters moments of high drama were anything but a daily occurrence.
Then everything changed, and Northern Ireland’s firefighters spent almost every day of the next thirty years racing to the scenes of atrocities, running towards the gravest danger.
In this powerful book, men and women who served in the fire service during the Troubles tell their own stories in their own words – the events that have never left them, the victims they have never forgotten, the extraordinary bond between colleagues, the emotional burden and fallout from the job.
The stories cover a uniquely challenging period for firefighters – full of exhilaration, fear, bravery and sorrow. What comes across is a universal desire to honour the uniform, to be brave when the need for courage is acute, and to be determined to cover your mate’s back – no matter what.