This is an hilarious, moving and utterly compelling collection of stories from a third-generation firefighter.
Warning: may contain cats up trees!
Leigh Hosy-Pickett has seen it all in his 25 years as a firefighter. He’s battled infernos and pulled people from the wreckage of twisted metal, but the closest he ever came to death was at the hands of a confused hen do. Now he’s here to tell us the funniest, most eye-opening and moving stories from a life lived amongst the smoke. From blazes involving sex toys, to navigating cannabis farm security measures, this brilliantly warm and entertaining book is a celebration of the everyday heroism of our Fire Service. But it is also a clear-eyed and honest record of the many sacrifices made in the line of duty and the consequences of that heroism.
Above everything else, Leigh wants us to understand what it’s like every day when you leave for work and know you might not be coming home.
As a third-generation firefighter he’s proud to do his duty, but he’s experienced the mental and emotional toll that the job can take and he wants us to celebrate our fire service as we do other public services. Because when you need them, you’ll be really glad when that flashing blue light appears.
As Leigh himself says: ‘I can honestly say this book has been an absolute honour and privilege to write. Being able to share a fragment of my family’s firefighting story gives me an enormous sense of personal pride. Firefighters are an eclectic bunch. We represent most parts of our society, and in this book I give you a snapshot of who we are and how we cope in some of the most extreme environments. There’ll be tears of sadness and tears of laughter reading it. To say writing this book was a rollercoaster of emotions would be an understatement. I had to reprocess many traumatic memories from historical incidents that left their scars. Thankfully though, I was able to balance this out with many funny moments that made me laugh out loud, which in essence is the narrative within the story. Laughter is the best medicine and without it firefighters would find it nigh-on impossible to cope and depressurise. I wrote it in the hope that everyone that reads or listens to it, gets a feeling of love, pride and admiration for their firefighters and go on to class us as a beloved national institution.’
UP IN SMOKE: Stories from a Life on Fire will be Published by Trapeze on 18 August 2022 in hardback; £18.99, eBook; £9.99, audio: £21.99.
About the author
Leigh Hosy-Pickett is a third-generation career firefighter. In 2007 Leigh was awarded a Chief Fire Officers’ Commendation for ‘Action and Dedication Beyond the Call of Duty’. He also won two gold medals at the 2008 World Firefighter Games. He is a campaigner, activist, PTSD sufferer, mental health advocate, storyteller and House DJ.