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The Fire Alarm

From the Newark Evening Star, July 8, 1914.

When riding on their motor trucks
    I see the firemen pass,
Like soldiers dressed in uniforms
    Of natty blue and brass,
I think about the volunteers
    Who used, in other days,
To rally to the fire-alarm
    And battle with the blaze.

When clanged upon the midnight air
    That sudden summons loud,
The people tumbled out of bed,
    A wild, excited crowd.
The barking dogs ran on ahead,
    And shouts and cries arose
Above the crackle of the flames,
    The hissing of the hose.

To save a neighbor’s little home
    The axe and hose they plied,
Until among the cinders black
    The lurid demon died.
The old red shirts they used to sport
    Are full of moths and holes;
The men who wore them, too, are dead—
    God rest their gallant souls!

But still we fear the smoky scourge,
    And tremble with affright,
When suddenly the fire-alarm
    Blares out upon the night.
So here’s a tribute from the heart,
    A word of praise for all
The heroes of the hose and truck
    Who answer to its call.

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