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Report from Engine Co. 82

4.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  585 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
From his bawdy and brave fellow firefighters to the hopeful, hateful, beautiful and beleaguered residents of the poverty-stricken district where he works, Dennis Smith tells the story of a brutalising yet rewarding profession.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 1972)
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9th out of 42 books — 107 voters
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(showing 1-30 of 1,003)
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Aug 20, 2011 Ida rated it it was amazing
Contrary to the stereotype, firefighters do not sit around the firehouse playing cards all day. I first read this book in the early 1980's after I joined the volunteer fire department. I found Dennis Smith's description of the duties and problems firefighters face to be most accurate. Company 82 is situated in New York City and was written in the 70's but it's still a fast paced and hysterical read. My sister, who is not interested in the fire service, also loved the book and screamed with laugh ...more
Karl Groll
Jan 14, 2012 Karl Groll rated it liked it
The following quotes are taken from Report from Engine Co. 82, by Dennis Smith. Page numbers are provided from the paperback published by Warner Books in 1999, ISBN: 0-446-67552-0


I hope that the young men joining the fire departments around the country are doing so out of some sense of commitment to the profession and to the people, not because of the excitement of the sounds of sirens and bells. Firefighting is a brutalizing business. The community will take you for granted, they will not sa
Christian Bauman
Apr 02, 2016 Christian Bauman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was one my favorite books when I was a kid, by a long shot. Top 5, easily. Probably read it for the first time when I was 10 or 11 (I remember the tape-reenforced paperback from the Hunterdon County Library) (and yes, 10 or 11 was prob too young to be reading this; story of my life; likely why I'm a freak now) and reread it easily 10 times after that over the next few years. So...having just reread again for first time in thirty years, how did it stand up? Yeah...pretty brilliantly. Besides ...more
Aidan Mace
Jan 13, 2013 Aidan Mace rated it it was amazing
Firemen have one of the most thank less jobs imaginable, nobody really cares about them until all hell breaks loose and they don't know who to turn this book this is something Firefighter Dennis Smith deals with everyday he walked through those big gleaming bay doors of the firehouse.Smith is a very well respected New York City fireman he spent over 18 years with the department in one of the worst boroughs of the city,the south Bronx,Smith did not only write this book, he is writing about ...more
Angie Fehl
Jan 05, 2016 Angie Fehl rated it really liked it
This is the memoir of Dennis Smith, who in the 1960s was a FDNY firefighter on Engine Co. 82, one of the busiest fire dept companies in the entire nation. Speaking of FDNY, if you ever wondered about the difference between FDNY and NYFD, Smith here does explain the history behind the distinction.

Engine Company 82 served South Bronx, an area that during Smith's time had more homicides per square mile than anywhere else in the US. At the time of this book's original publication (1972), Smith had b
Sep 08, 2014 Tracy rated it it was amazing
A great book. Shows the fire department from the inside. It isn't all fun, playing with the lights and sirens and sliding down the brass pole. The fire house is your home for at least 24 hours, or more if you trade shifts with someone on the day before or after you. There are the daily household chores that have to get done, inspections of all the equipment and of the fire trucks, fire engines, tactical and other units. It wouldn't do to get on a scene and not have a necessary piece of equipment ...more
Jenn Scranton
Feb 04, 2014 Jenn Scranton rated it it was amazing
Definitely enlightening.

I learned so much from this book. The good, the bad, the ugly....and the "snotty". (Book was written before FF wore face masks, or so I've been told)

This book makes you look at Firemen like the people that they are. They have family. Wives. Husbands. Children. And they put themselves at risk for your safety.

Love you local Firemen. Check your smoke alarms!

My favorite new "Firefighting term" from my favorite local Firefighter:
"Gotta put the wet stuff on the red stuff"

Mar 07, 2016 Behruz rated it it was amazing
This book is timeless, being over 40 years, it is still relevant and reveals a lot of current issues. Report From Engine Co. 82 is a fantastic book focusing on a life of a New York firefighter. This book does an excellent job explaining the dangers of the job and reasons why these men risk their lives to do what they do. The author, Dennis Smith, uses his experience to project the issues present in firefighting, especially in a less stable part of New York. He gives it a personal touch by writin ...more
Nov 24, 2014 KennyO rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you ask what a firefighter's job is, I believe no better answer is available than Dennis Smith's. I read this when it was newly published in 1972. It caused a sensation with its excellent writing and sharp descriptions of the life of a firefighter in one of the busiest stations in NYC, therefore in the country. A good portion of it is dated (Women firefighters? No sir!) but most of it is current as well. There's something in the character of some people that lets them deal successfully with t ...more
Scott Primrose
Mar 03, 2014 Scott Primrose rated it it was amazing
The best book about the life of a firefighter ever written! When you get done reading this, you will understand what it was like being an FDNY fireman when the Bronx was burning in the early 70's.
Mar 01, 2016 Phillip rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I've read in a very long time. This book was a present to me by my mother many, many years ago, but I only now read it. After having read the book, I wish I had read it sooner. The book is well-written and captivating. It definitely held my attention all the way through. In reading it, I felt as if I was right there with the firemen of Engine Company 82: living with them on shift, eating at the station while on duty, and feeling their tension balancing work with mak ...more
Jan 14, 2011 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the wake of 9/11 I read Smith's 'Report From Ground Zero' as suggested by my mother, who had read this book when it was first released. I found 'Ground Zero' to be very well-written, as Smith got to the heart of the experience from the perspective of a first responder that day. I may read that book again soon, as the details are not fresh enough in my mind to compare the names and companies with those mentioned in this book.
As with 'Ground Zero', Smith takes readers in-depth and holds nothing
Aug 13, 2014 Rai rated it really liked it
It's not just a good book for people interested in firefighting. Dennis Smith was a firefighter in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country, and yet his compassion and patience with the most extreme levels of poverty is fascinating to read. His discussions about the cause and results of poverty are uncommon make this book more than just another firefighter's memoir.
Bret Quinn
May 04, 2014 Bret Quinn rated it it was amazing
I read this after seeing Smith on "The Today Show" promotional book tour. I was only 10, so I had trouble grasping the cruelty of those who call in false alarms. I was shocked to hear that firemen have died as a result of false alarms. This book gave me a realistic look into the lives of firefighters in New York City, and I came away with a new respect for firefighters.
Mar 24, 2014 Josh rated it liked it
Shelves: next-100
Decent book. The juxtaposition of the firefighters fighting fires in the middle of hell (the South Bronx in the late 1960s) sticks with you. All these people living terrible lives and dying bad deaths but the guys in the firehouse going out call after call in the middle of meals, of sleep, of just returning from other calls. (700 some odd calls a month would be bad enough, but the 1/3 that are malicious false alarms that get other folks killed is the kicker). The cumulative exhaustion, the trips ...more
Kyle Mcavoy
Nov 05, 2014 Kyle Mcavoy rated it it was amazing
The book was totally excellent, it made me want to put on my fire boots, jacket, helmet, and jump on to the back of an Engine. This is astounding writing, and vivid detail, talking about the wort time in the Bronx in history. The way that he put it was excellent, and shows how much firefighting has improved, and the world has improved, the one thing that he put into my mind is that when something bad happens, firemen come
Sep 23, 2013 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I realized about a third of the way through that I had read this years and years ago, but it is still worth the time. Having worked for almost 20 years as a 911 Dispatcher in Iowa City, it is hard for me to fathom the work load these NYC Firefighters had to endure. And so thanklessly. In Iowa City everyone LOVES the Firefighters.

I am also thankful that times and equipment have changed making things a little safer. However, when you read this book knowing it took place 40 years ago, you realize
John J.
Feb 25, 2015 John J. rated it it was amazing
I read this book many years ago as a teenager and could not put it down. Reread it again several years later. It helped give me info and guided me with my lifelong interest in the fire service.
Dec 28, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best books I have read about the fire service. It's full of first hand experiences by the author who was a firefighter on Engine 82. It's the kind of book that you can't put down.
Robert Snow
May 03, 2013 Robert Snow rated it it was amazing
Great book on what it is like to be a firefighter in NYC. Very popular when it was first released... Smith, a firefighter writes from the heart about those who put their lives on the line everyday in a job that most people consider necessary, but too dangerous as a profession! If you have been around firefighters you know the brotherhood and the dark humor that surrounds the them and their firehouse. Being around a firehouse one is never sure where firefighter really lives, because they have two ...more
Jan 09, 2016 Charles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most influential books I read as a teenager.
Jul 05, 2009 Annemarie rated it really liked it
Recommended to Annemarie by: I looked up books on firefighters on Amazon and it got a good re
Very interesting book. The way it was written was different. It jumped back and forth a lot, but in some ways it made it that much more interesting. At first I would've thought that he'd have put more details in about the fires, but then there was so much packed into this book that I'm glad that he didn't because it wasn't needed. It was also interesting to see how much firefighting has changed since the 1960s and 70s, but also how much it hasn't. The book wasn't at all what I had expected, but ...more
Dec 19, 2007 Joe rated it really liked it
An interesting read for people in the fire service. This is an autobiography basically of when Dennis Smith was on Engine 82 in the Bronx in the 1970s. These were the "war years" of the Bronx and at one time Engine 82 was making almost 10,000 calls per year. This might not be the most interesting book for people not in the fire service since they won't really have a connection with what the author is relaying. I liked it anyway. Last Men Out is still the best Firefighting book I have read.
Ryan Barry
Dec 19, 2015 Ryan Barry rated it really liked it
If you want to know what being a firefighter is all about. Read this
Danny Ross
Nov 01, 2012 Danny Ross rated it it was amazing
This book is about a fireman in the south bronx and is crazy everyday life. He lives for fighting fires and being the man aiming the nozzle but a lot of the time he is answering either kids pulling false alarms or garbage fires. There is always a risk of one of his comrades dying and many do in this true story. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to sit down and look up 3 hours later after devouring this book.
Sep 06, 2015 Kenneth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fire-rescue
My third time reading this classic. Still a must-read for firefighters. Timeless...
Aug 13, 2007 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: davesbookshelf
This was a GREAT BOOK! Dennis Smith was a real life firefighter, and it shows how the life there lifes day by day on the job, and shows what firefighters really see and have to go through on a faily basis. Its a amazing and true story of his life as a firefighter, and its great you have too read it!!
Dec 29, 2011 Arii rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fire-ems-trauma
Quite an interesting read. This book was recommended to all of us at the station by a fellow firefighter who enjoyed the writing style and I agree, it was very well written. I love that he captured the daily grind of a station, from the thought out dinners to the endless jokes.
Oct 04, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing
It is a best-selling classic, the first-ever literary firefighting memoir and, even after more than 40 years, it is highly recommended by readers with a passion for firefighting memoirs. Timeless and powerful, Report From Engine Co. 82 is a book that cannot be put down.
Aug 30, 2009 Natalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me by Ted Truscott. As he warned, once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. I'm not sure what was more moving about the book - the dedication of the men or the horrid circumstances for the residents of the South Bronx.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Dennis Smith is a former firefighter, a writer and president of a company offering financial services to emergency services personnel. He is an advocate for firefighters in the United States. He served for 18 years (1963-1981) as a firefighter with the New York City Fire Dep
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