Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Report from Engine Co. 82” as Want to Read:
Report from Engine Co. 82
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Report from Engine Co. 82

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  767 Ratings  ·  59 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Report from Engine Co. 82, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Report from Engine Co. 82

Tiger's Voyage by Colleen HouckTable 21 by T. Rafael CiminoHyphema by Chelle CorderoRescue 471 by Peter CanningParamedic by Peter Canning
Everyday Heros
60 books — 107 voters
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty  SmithBreakfast at Tiffany's by Truman CapoteExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Tales of New York City
1,272 books — 1,044 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Karl Groll
Jan 14, 2012 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
Aug 20, 2011 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
Scott Primrose
Aug 21, 2012 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.
Christian Bauman
Mar 23, 2016 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
Jordan Larsen
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: firefighting, memoirs
In the city that never sleeps, New York City is the microcosm of the world, an urban population of eight million people with endless troubles, experiences and stories to tell. In one of the biggest and busiest metropolis’ on earth, there’s a litany of emergencies and hazards for an elite few to contend with on a 24-hour basis. Meet the courageous first responders of the “Big Apple,” preferably the venerable smoke eaters of the FDNY’s Firehouse 82. Known throughout the department as “The Big Hous ...more
Keith Stahl
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I’ve always wanted to read this and now I have. Being a firefighter who has spent a large part of my career working in a socioeconomically depressed area, even today I can relate. His projection of humanity and humility are very accurate and for me, moving. Brought back many amenities and buried feelings. Thank you Dennis Smith and the courageous men and women of the service.
Aidan Mace
Jan 13, 2013 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
Anna Stephens
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great book, despite being a little dated now. It covers the life and experiences of a New York firefighter working in South Bronx, Engine Company 82 - at the time it was written - the 1960s - it was the busiest fire station in the country, with more than 5,000 calls a year - 30-40 per shift.
Obviously, firefighting techniques have changed radically since then, as have procedures and equipment, but the basic level of professional and personal integrity a firefighter must maintain remains the sa
Jeff Bobin
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: firefighting
I am old enough to remember when firefighters wore rubber coats and boots, entered burning buildings without a mask and road on the outside of the trucks. This book will take you back to another time and into the midst of New York City firefighting with the busiest station.

Written in a time when alarm boxes were on every corner and the fire department had no idea what they were responding to. It will give you a real appreciation for what we have today.
Michael J
Jun 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A page-turner. A realistic look into the life of a firefighter at the busiest fire station in the country.
Kevin DeLong
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Who doesn't like a great fire story or stories. I can read this over and over and recommend it to all the young guys around my firehouses.
Angie Fehl
Jan 05, 2016 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
Dec 09, 2010 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
Sep 08, 2014 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
Jan 28, 2014 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"

Dec 29, 2012 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
Mar 07, 2016 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
Aug 11, 2011 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
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
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
Mar 01, 2016 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
Dec 25, 2008 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
Robert Snow
May 03, 2013 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
Kyle Mcavoy
Oct 22, 2014 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
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent book. Smith is an excellent writer. I enjoyed this book very much. It is very detailed. It was an insightful and informative look into the daily lives of the fireman that work in the south Bronx. I would recommend this to anyone who has an interest in the career of firefighters. I was also impressed with his detail from a sociological stand point. He did an excellent job of describe the problems and life of the lower class neighborhoods that he worked in. Amazing book.
Danny Ross
Nov 01, 2012 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.
Dec 12, 2007 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.
Aug 13, 2014 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.
Aug 13, 2007 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!!
Bret Quinn
May 01, 2014 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.
Ray Dinterman
Sep 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I have been trying to remember what books I read "first". Those books picked up at the drug store (Waldenbooks did not open in my town until 1974). This was one that came to mind, published in '72. What a flashback, I need to find a copy to read again.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Last Men Out: Life on the Edge at Rescue 2 Firehouse
  • Working Fire: The Making of a Fireman
  • On Fire
  • Chants Democratic: New York City and the Rise of the American Working Class, 1788-1850
  • Jumping Fire: A Smokejumper's Memoir of Fighting Wildfire
  • Fighting Fire
  • Last Man Down: A Firefighter's Story of Survival and Escape from the World Trade Center
  • The Fires: How a Computer Formula, Big Ideas, and the Best of Intentions Burned Down New York City-and Determined the Future of Cities
  • North Toward Home
  • Firehouse
  • Blue Blood
  • Lost in America: A Journey with My Father
  • Cosmopolitan: A Bartender's Life
  • The Encyclopedia of New York City
  • 3000 Degrees: The True Story of a Deadly Fire and the Men Who Fought It
  • Fire on the Mountain: The True Story of the South Canyon Fire
  • The Lost Boys of Sudan: An American Story of the Refugee Experience
  • Trauma Junkie: Memoirs of an Emergency Flight Nurse
During his 18 years as a New York City firefighter, Dennis Smith developed a profound respect for the professionalism of the firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and nurses with whom he worked in the more than 40 alarms his engine company responded to every day. He witnessed their willingness to give of themselves in the course of their duty. His experiences in the fire service have been immortali ...more
More about Dennis Smith

Nonfiction Deals

  • A Guide to the Present Moment
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Breaks of the Game
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt
    $12.74 $2.99
  • How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Dry
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Measure of a Man
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions
    $13.99 $2.99
  • 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Clara's War: One Girl's Story of Survival
    $8.49 $1.99
  • The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey
    $17.48 $1.99
  • The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice
    $12.49 $1.99
  • The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Scar Tissue
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Running with Scissors
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
    $9.99 $2.99
  • 1968: The Year That Rocked the World
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
    $9.99 $2.99
  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini
    $22.95 $1.99
  • Facing Your Giants: The God Who Made a Miracle Out of David Stands Ready to Make One Out of You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Egg and I
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
    $12.74 $1.99
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Just Another Kid
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Second World War
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
    $11.24 $1.99
  • Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism
    $13.99 $1.99
  • I Am Not Myself These Days (P.S.)
    $13.24 $1.99
  • In the Beginning...Was the Command Line
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Toltec Art of Life and Death
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It
    $9.49 $2.99
  • The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top
    $17.99 $2.99
  • A Brief History of Time
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Penguin Lessons
    $12.99 $1.99
  • What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011
    $12.99 $2.99
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About God
    $11.49 $2.99
  • Running with the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Johnny Cash: The Life
    $12.99 $3.99
  • No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Can't Help Myself: Lessons & Confessions from a Modern Advice Columnist
    $13.99 $3.99
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business
    $12.99 $2.99