Beyond the Flames by David C. Pike
Beyond the Flames is a captivating account- sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, but never dull – of David Pike’s career in, and dedication to, fire fighting in the capital city.
As a teenager at a South London comprehensive school, young David Pike was determined not to follow the advice of his careers teacher; factory life wasn’t for him. At sixteen he seized the offer of a place as a Junior Fireman with the London Fire Brigade and started a journey that spanned four decades and numerous roles within the Fire Brigade.
David Pike’s book takes the reader ‘beyond the flames’ and details a long and successful career rising through the ranks of the London Fire Brigade. In many amusing anecdotes, he describes the camaraderie and epic fund raising efforts as well as the accounts of devastating fires that sometimes ended in tragedy.
Taking up station in London’s busiest and most challenging fire station; Brixton, David rose to senior rank – commanding the station through some of its most hectic times and eventually being awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery.
A man of many talents, the author has also managed to row himself in to Guinness Book of World Records as he raised several thousand pounds worth for charity, and helped to organise some of the Fire Brigade’s most prestigious events, including Royal visits and the unveiling of the national Blitz memorial by St Paul’s Cathedral.
Beyond the Flames was not only a finalist in the 2014 Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards, but was also a runner-up in the finals for The People’s Book Prize in 2014, and was last year nominated for the prestigious Beryl Bainbridge Award.
The reader will gain a fascinating insight into the workings of the London Fire Brigade and the firefighters who keep us safe in Beyond the Flames. David has seen more than enough adventure and danger to turn his first written work into a thrilling page-turner for trained firefighters and civilians alike.
Extract from the book
“This is a personal memoir. It offers glimpses and snapshots that gave definition to a fire service career that spanned the last four decades of the twentieth century. Whilst the tales cover the people and events that shaped and influenced my working life, it also offers a special reminiscence of the life and times in the long history of the London Fire Brigade, highlighting personalities, acts of courage, and the ultimate sacrifice that any firefighter can make, to give their life in the performance of their duty. All of which made this so much more than just a job. This story is dedicated to them, the fallen.
Riding the engine…
“One of my early childhood memories was that of running to the front window of our home to watch the fire engines when I heard their clanging bells as they drove up Waller Road, a steep thoroughfare in South London. My parents occupied the top floor flat of my grandmother’s three-storey Victorian house. I had a grandstand view of the big red fire engines, with their wooden ladders, as they seemed to fill the tree-lined road, which in the early fifties was bereft of any parked cars. New Cross fire station was located at the bottom of the hill and Waller Road was a frequent transit route for these engines responding to some urgent call. The sight of these magnificent engines with the firemen getting dressed into their fire tunics and black helmets always filled my childhood mind with excitement and the hope of one day being able to join in their adventure.”
Beyond the Flames is available to order online, and London’s Firefighters will be available to pre-order from Amazon, Waterstones, WHSmith, Foyle’s, Blackwell’s and from Austin Macauley Publishers.
Beyond the Flames is available in paperback from £12.99 and London’s Firefighters is subject to revision, but is currently planned to be £19.99.