And what image do you have of firemen?
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Here is a quote from ch. 1,
With his symbolic helmet numbered 451 on his stolid head, and his eyes all orange flame with the thought of what came next, he flicked the igniter and the house jumped up in a gorging fire that burned the evening sky red and yellow and black. He strode in a swarm of fireflies....He knew that when he returned to the firehouse, he might wink at himself, a minstrel man, burnt-corked, in the mirror.