"An insightful, dramatic and emotional tale that deserves a place alongside Dennis Smith's classic firefighting memoir, Report from Engine Co. 82." -Terry Golway, New York Post
Brooklyn's Rescue 2 has long been known as one of the country's top firehouses, a model for departments nationwide. Recognized for their expertise and commitment, Rescue 2's men handle only big blazes where civilians and their fellow firemen are in danger.
Beginning in 1996 with legendary Captain Ray Downey's promotion, the story follows the trials of his replacement, Phil Ruvolo, as he works to win over his headstrong men. A new Rescue 2 is forged through changes in firefighting methods and blazes that quickly become legend. Through the crisis of 9/11 and the subsequent rebuilding, Ruvolo triumphantly fills the late Downey's boots, heading Rescue 2 toward a future worthy of its past, its heroes, its city.
Filled with firefighting detail, raucous humor, and gritty real-life scenes, The Last Men Out is a new classic for an era in firefighting that is more risky, complicated, and dramatic than any before.
Tom Downey is the nephew of the late, legendary Ray Downey, former Chief of Rescue Operations for the NYFD, who arranged for Tom to live and work with Rescue 2's men in order to make a film (which aired on the Learning Channel). Tom spent almost two years in the firehouse before 9/11, when his uncle died, and has continued reporting since that disaster.
“This isn't the first unvarnished portrayal of city fireman. It maybe the most stark and at times unsettling. But like the firemen, Downey sees no need for apologies. If someone will walk through a wall of flame to see if Grandma is inside your burning house, the rest is supposed to seem incidental.” —New York Daily News
“Full of firefighters' war stories, of macho camraderie, and of the gallows humor common to men who put their lives on the line every day. . . A powerful tribute to men whose daily lives are the stuff of heroism.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Downey's descriptions burn into the pages with searing intensity. Writing with verve and energy in a gritty style, he explores all extremes of the firemen's world, from triumphant moments of heroism to bitter tragedies.” —Publisher's Weekly
“I have been a career firefighter for 32 years and have read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies on firefighting; none rises to the level of authenticity of Tom Downey's The Last Men Out. . . . Downey does a masterful job.” —James Grigsby, chief officer with the Roanoke Fire-EMS, The Roanoke Times