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Fire! (1901)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

James Williamson's September 1902 catalogue contains a detailed synopsis:

First Scene: Policeman on his beat in the early morning finds an unoccupied portion of a building well alight with window burnt out, while the inmates of the adjoining part are apparently asleep and unconscious of their danger. He endeavours to arouse them, and tries to open door, blows his whistle to call assistance and rushes off to call the fire engine and escape.

Second Scene: Outside the fire station; policeman rushes in, shakes the door and rings the bell; fireman opens door, policeman excitedly gives particulars of fire, other firemen hurry forward, dressing as they go and quickly rush off with small fire escape. In an incredibly short time a horse is fixed to another escape, and two horses into a manual engine, and the whole gallop off.

Third Scene: Shows horsed fire escape and engine coming full gallop past the camera.

Fourth Scene: Interior of bedroom full of smoke; man in bed just rousing; discovering room full of smoke he jumps out of bed and throws contents of water jug over the fire, then rushes to the door and opens it, but finds his passage blocked by flame and smoke; he then goes towards the window, but just at that moment the curtains set alight, and overcome by smoke and heat he buries his head in the bedclothes. The window curtains and blind now burnt away disclose a fireman outside with hatchet breaking in the window; he comes in with his hose and quickly extinguishes the fire; he then goes to the relief of the man now helpless on the bed, and puts him across his shoulder, and carries him to the window.

Fifth Scene: Shows the outside of the window; fireman with rescued man across his shoulders comes down escape; another fireman runs up and fetches down the hose, throwing out some bedclothes to put round the rescued man; the latter recovering his senses recollects that there are others in the burning building. One fireman, laying a wet cloth over his mouth, breaks into a French window, while others hurry away with the escape to another part of the building. Fireman re-appears through the smoke with a child in his arms, the previously rescued man clutching the child from him hurries away with her, overjoyed at her rescue. Meanwhile the captain has directed another party of firemen to prepare to rescue another inmate, who appears at the window in an exhausted condition; the fire escape being occupied elsewhere, the jumping sheet is brought into requisition, and the man jumps into it and is carried away by the firemen.