3000 Degrees: The True Story of a Deadly Fire and the Men Who Fought It (英語) ハードカバー – 2002/4
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In the fading industrial city of Worcester, Massachusetts, there are men whose jobs are to brave danger, endure long shifts, and trust other men with their lives. Like their counterparts in cities and small towns everywhere, they are firefighters, and like firefighters everywhere, they take enormous pride in their brotherhood and their calling. On December 3, 1999, as the men of Central Street and other Worcester stations lived their daily lives, worked second jobs, and raised their children, they did not know an inferno unlike anything they had ever seen was about to put them to the ultimate test.
The fire at Worcester Cold Storage was ignited by two vagrants' Christmas candle. When the first firefighters arrived on the scene, the building-a hulking, abandoned, windowless warehouse-was waiting to explode. As men fought to contain the flames with hoses, they were suddenly surrounded by confusing, suffocating darkness and searing steam. Worcester Cold Storage-with its mazelike layout and rooms so insulated that they prevented men from hearing each other's alarms-was turning into a furious beast, disorienting those inside it, seemingly determined to kill as many men as it could.
3000 DEGREES stands with the best works of American reportage. Sean Flynn takes us into the private lives of men heading inexorably into one sudden shared, overwhelming battle. He captures the agony of working wives and mothers hearing the news with mounting terror and a community being hurtled toward unbearable loss. Most of all, he vividly depicts the moments of truth, when ordinary men know that their brothers are going to die, and that to live with themselves, to take another single breath, they too must be prepared to lay down their lives.
2003 Audie Award Nominee
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Sean Flynn does a great job in telling this story. The book is relatively short, but Flynn does not shortchange the reader. You turn the pages fast as Flynn provides brisk views of the firemen he writes about, giving us the flavor of their family lives and their personal ambitions, and then rushing on into the action and tragedy that are the centerpieces of the book.
This is a true story, but Flynn writes as if it were a novel, letting us know what people were thinking and saying in a terrible situation. He is able to do this because he has researched the story so well. (It began as a story for Esquire magazine.)
The descriptions of the desperate attempts to save the six firemen who became lost in the mazes of the fiery Worcester Cold Storage building are some of the best true-life action sequences you are likely to encounter in a book. Flynn describes the aftermath of the fire eloquently, relating the sorrow, guilt, and pride felt by the surviving firefighters, and just as important, the heartbreak of the families the heroes left behind.
Before the Worcester Cold Storage building ever caught fire, one of the firemen in this book looked at the towering thing, imagined it on fire, and said, "Bad Building." It seems he was right.
Bad building. Hell of a good book.
In addition, I was pleased to see the author treat firefighting with just enough simplicity for laymen, yet with enough attention to detail to capture the minds of firefighters themselves.
This is a must read!!