Report from Engine Co. 82 Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Dennis Smith (firefighter)
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is one example of a booby trap sometimes left by arsonists?

2. Where was the last false alarm of the day called from, at the end of Chapter 5?

3. Which writer once suggested that the story finds the author?

4. What kind of test was Fireman Benny Carroll studying for in Chapter 3?

5. For which time period did Smith work as a firefighter in the South Bronx?

Short Essay Questions

1. What was Dennis Smith's main concern about writing about his fellow firefighters?

2. Why does Smith tell his mother that he feels compelled to continue working in the dangerous South Bronx neighborhood?

3. During a raging fire, Smith imagines neighbors serving coffee and food to the firefighters. Why does he think this is an impossibility in New York City?

4. In reflecting on the boys who chanted hate-filled slogans at the firefighters in Chapter 4, Smith reflects that "people don't hate other people." What does he mean by that?

5. What did the firemen do when they got the second teenager out of the Intervale Avenue apartment building, which was torched in the arson attack in Chapter 1?

6. Why were the firefighters remaining at the scene of the fire on Forest Avenue (in Chapter 5) unsure of the names of the injured firemen?

7. What did Katherine Anne Porter mean by "a book will find its author" and how did that apply to Dennis Smith?

8. Explain why the landlord of the Intervale Avenue apartment building wanted the place torched.

9. How does Smith describe the fire marshals sent to investigate the Intervale Avenue fire?

10. What is Smith's view of the political leaders of New York City?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Smith describes his reasons for living outside of the community in which he served. Do you think it is necessary for civil servants to live in the communities for which they work? Would Smith have been any more effective if he had lived in the South Bronx? Or, did his decision to seek a quieter life for his family make it easier for him to serve a needy community? In what ways could living amongst the people you serve make you a better servant? Do communities have a responsibility to make it easier for civil servants to live locally by, for instance, ensuring affordable housing?

Essay Topic 2

Smith discusses dropping out of school because he wanted to start making money and states that he found his own way to survive. In retrospect, was his decision to drop out a good, bad, or neutral one? What could he have more easily accomplished had he earned his diploma? Are there things that he learned while working that he could not have learned in school?Could he have put those things off until after school?

Essay Topic 3

Firefighters work long shifts that require them to both sleep and eat meals at the station. How does Smith demonstrate that this enforced closeness with fellow firefighters encourages a sense of brotherhood? Did the cooking and sharing of meals among the men of Engine Co. 82 foster a unique relationship that was missing in other professions? Is there a unique value in seeing your fellow firefighters at their best and their worst (i.e., grumpy before morning coffee, poor hygiene, an issue Smith addresses in the book) throughout the day? Does this help explain the fierce loyalty described by Smith?

(see the answer keys)

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