A Fireman’s Prayer

by M-Berens
The Fireman's Prayer was written after Smokey Linn was unable to save three children from a fire

A.W. “Smokey” Linn wrote The Fireman’s Prayer after being unable to save three children from a fire at an apartment block in 1958.

Alvin William Linn  was a career fireman in Wichita, Kansas who passed away in 2004 at the age of 80 years.  He was known as “Smokey” Linn from an incident that happened when he was 15 years old. His grandfather’s barn was burning and he rushed in to save his grandfather’s Model T truck. He was able to drive it out but unfortunately not before the seat of his pants started smoking. He carried the nickname ever since.  He served in the Coast Guard during WWII and was one of the few survivors of a torpedo attack. He was one of the first Red Cross instructors to teach and certify people in C.P.R. and first aid. He joined the Wichita Fire Department in 1947 and retired in 1975.

Linn wrote A Fireman’s Prayer after responding to a call of a fire at an apartment block in 1958. Fire fighters could see the faces of three children in the window but were unable to rescue them because of iron bars placed on the window by the apartment block’s owner. He wrote the poem sitting at a table in the station at 1 a.m. as he struggled with his emotions and frustrations at not being able to save the children.

A Fireman’s Prayer by A.W. “Smokey” Linn

A.W. "Smokey" Linn.

A.W. “Smokey” Linn.

When I am called to duty, God, whenever flames may rage;
Give me strength to save some life, whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child before it is too late,
Or save an older person from the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout,
And quickly and efficiently to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me,
To guard my every neighbor and protect his property.
And if, according to my fate, I am to lose my life;
Please bless with your protecting hand my
children and my wife.


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