THE FIRE WAS BURNING HOT
 
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Our gallant lads were fast asleep
Awaiting duty's call
When someone brought the fearful news
That mesmerised us all
A chimney pot was smoking
Only ten miles further on
And if we didn't hurry up
The beer would all be gone.

I forgot to ask where the fire was, but wrote a letter at once to the turncock, and sent a man round to the wheelwright's to see when the engine would be finished. As it happened, the horses were out doing a funeral job. When they came home, I had to take them to the farriers, and after that we made a start. When we got there we found the fire was on the fourth storey, and our ladder only reached to the second. So we had to wait until the fire got down, or call again tomorrow. Captain gave us three weeks to consider and in the meantime…

Chorus: The fire was burning hot
And the water was perishing cold
Our gallant lads all parched and dry
Watching from the pub close by
And when the fire was out
Like heroes they behaved
And every soul in that empty house
That didn't get burnt got saved.


We searched in all the jewellers' shops
But no plug could we find
Our Captain shouted, 'Cheer up boys,
We've left the hose behind'
Then up the gutter spout he rushed
His whiskers tied in knots
And rubbed some hokey-pokey on
To cool the chimney-pots.

Wonderful man our Captain - got three medals and a dog-bite. Made a patent fire escape, all out of his own head. Swears in fourteen languages. He only left us once while he went to have his boots cleaned. Then somebody went and put hot water on the fire, which, of course, made it ten times worse. And in the meantime…

Chorus:

At last we got the fire alight
And swallowed all the smoke
We couldn't reach the windows
We smashed up all the coke
We cheered ourselves - with bated breath
We knew not what about
And never left till all the pubs
Were fairly gutted out.

Then came the welcome order - single men go home, married men stop out for a change. I was one of 'em and it was hot work - stopping out all night, but duty's duty. Whether it is or not, and besides…

Chorus:

We drew our faithful choppers out
And put them back again
And thanked our lucky stars we'd all
Got water on the brain
Our fireproof whiskers turned to (h)air
As the roof turned inside out
We shut our eyes, and looked and looked
Like idiots no doubt.

Chorus:
 
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Written and composed by T.W. Connor
Performed by T.E. Dunville (1868-1924)
 
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