A Fireman's Lament


HOLDING OUT: Fire-engine driver Tony Collis warms up on the picket line

For a fireman, the pealing of a call-up bell is at once a summons to action, an intimation of danger, and perhaps a foreshadowing of death. Even after 26 years in the job, Tony Collis still gets an adrenaline jolt when the bell begins to ring in central London's Manchester Square Fire Station. But when the familiar clanging began at 9 a.m. last Friday, Collis felt only emptiness. Instead of running for the gear and piling into their red fire engines, Collis and his colleagues strolled somberly to the front of the ornate 19th century red-brick building and, for the second...

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