Finally, the raging fires in Hertfordshire oil depot in North London have been extinguished after four days of relentless burning. I have been lucky to witness, as a reporter for this newspaper, the exact moment when, with local fire brigades in turmoil and in pay rise strike anarchy, they sat back and watched how a true dedicated fire-fighter did his job. Just as a Swede was needed to turn up and manage the national football team, it took another foreigner’s professional dedication to tame the worst disaster on English soil since the Second World War.
Patriotic Irishman Green O’Dare, was until recently little known to the general public. He was forever cast in the flaming shadow of his hero and mentor, the late fiery Texan, Red Adair – who could blow out raging oils wells simply by farting! Green O’ Dare comes from an impoverished family in the west of Ireland and he had little inkling of his incredible talents until a freak accident during a candle lit Christmas dinner five years ago. His Uncle Murphy had been blessing the potatoes (braised in Guinness), when the highly intoxicated man had passed his immense whiskey soaked beard and long hair too near the candles. Acting instantly, without fear of harming himself, Green had punted the howling, holocaust engulfed defrocked priest through the only window, landing him head first in the shit-bucket that was the communal bog. It was then that O’Dare realised that his future lay in fire fighting.
A year ago, he became something of a celebrity when he appeared on the popular BBC 2 television program Dragon’s Den. Green had been looking for financial backing for what he dubbed – ‘Poor Bastards’ Bath Tubs’, made from cardboard. At the age of 53 he gave up his life of Reilly, signed off the dole and became self employed. The idea was simple but he sadly failed in his request for a quarter of a million pounds. As he afterwards explained – ‘the fool place had a bleedin’ wood floor, for Christ’s sake! When I used a plumber’s portable Bunsen burner to get the corners nicely lit – to get the water hot, like – the feekin’ place burnt down! Them rich gits legged it, like blue-arsed flies. I tell ye, that Lady Muck is right fit mind, for her age, but not as fit as me – I got me Irish arse out the place first.’
O’Dare was undeterred with the minor set back. As he went on to tell –
‘I tell ye what though. That very next day, me mate Shamus blew himself up when he dropped a lit match into the petrol tank of a motorbike he had just nicked; to see how much gas was inside. I was across the road in the Feek I’m Thirsty pub, having a quite pint and a little rabbit with me boys, when in runs your man, screaming his bleedin’ fool head off!’
Green continues, ‘so I decked the feekin eejit with me bar stool, and then I got the lads to piss on him till he stopped burning and moaning. It took a while like, cos it was his round, and I had a right job getting a tenner out his jeans; what with him rolling about, flapping his arms like a headless chicken, effin’ and blindin’, and such. Afterwards I thought me lads had done me proud and I knew then, I could organise a fire fighting outfit to rival the best.’
Green was not wrong and he invested his life savings of twenty pounds in an extended version of a 1978 East German Trabant as his main fire-fighter carrier. As he explained last year in an interview with the best selling newspaper, Irish Simple Minds,
‘That Trabbi is almost indestructible, and it will go on any liquid shit that burns. I got a ladder in it and three buckets. I’ve not driven it yet, but it’s in a garage waiting for an emergency. I’m telling ye, me and my lads can handle anything.’ That moment finally came this week…
In a late night session of Parliament yesterday, the Prime Minister, Toenee Nutcase, attempted to answer satisfactorily the opposition’s questions, as to why it had taken four days to finally get Green O’Dare to put out the fires. In an emotion filled reply, the Prime Minister, struggling to be heard over the noise of illegal Nigerians, vacuum cleaning with their new Asian made Dissya machines, told the packed house –
‘One of the side effects of my new law, to allow 24/7 drinking, is that Green O’Dare was unfortunately only located by her Majesty’s Secret Service in the Feek I’m Thirsty pub in Kensington yesterday. It appears he has been there ever since the law was passed and he had unfortunately neglected to inform his sick benefits officer of his recent change of address.’
The Prime Minister had been facing massive rising criticism of his governments handling of the entire situation, which has seen a huge increase of panic stricken drivers queuing for hours at petrol stations to fill their MPV, and off road 4×4’s. (Though most are still struggling to find some off- road.)
Toeknee Nutcase went on to explain, ‘Mr O’Dare was awoken at 2.30 pm, and when presented with 50,000 pounds in cash, promised to assemble his team and extinguish the blaze.’
So it was, that I was witness when Green O’Dare and his crew, around 4.30 pm, careered at full tilt straight past the awaiting press. The green painted Trabant, with the Irish Flag painted on the bonnet, was packed with brave fire-fighters. The occupants’ eyes could be seen to bulge with excitement and their comradely, adrenalin inspiring chants –
‘Jeesoos Feekin’ Christ! I shit me cacks!’, could easily be heard above the sound of the screaming two stroke engine as it disappeared at well over 70 miles an hour into the inferno.
It was difficult to see exactly how they started, for the whirling clouds of black smoke constantly blocked our vision, but there were brief moments, when we, the reporters, could look into that raging holocaust. It was soul moving, the emotions we felt, as these gallant men fearlessly fought the very entrance of hell itself.
The Trabant converted fire engine had obviously stopped after colliding with the largest oil tank, O’Dares team had rapidly and professionally dispersed in what apparently appeared to be a well planned circle. As wind flurries opened up gaps in the oily black smoke, it could be seen they had removed their Donkey jackets and were repeatedly beating at each other to put out the fires that broken out all over them. Green himself could be seen protecting his head with a bucket he had removed from the Trabant, just before it blew up. Strands of his screamed instructions to his chivalrous crew came to our ears.
‘Feek me blind, it’s hot. We haven’t got a baldy – Run for ye lives, ye bastaads.’
Several of them had freely released their bladders, so as to extinguish their nylon track suit bottoms that were trying to melt into their skin. The loyalty of the crew to their leader was awe inspiring. Three of them, hair alight, had run out the devils playground, howling like possessed banshees, for a quick fag break. However, as again and again the screams of – ‘don’t let that bastaad O’Dare out ye sights lads, he got the bleedin’ money he promised us,’ could heard, they had rushed back in, their Nicked trainers bubbling from the heat. Still using their jackets, the incredibly brave men, after what seemed an eternity, finally beat a path out. Their super human effort also effectively extinguished the last of the flames.
Green O’Dare was one of the last to emerge from the black soot. He looked like an exhausted bat out of hell. He had staggered over to the applauding crowds and after removing his glowing red bucket with blistered hands, it could be seen his head was now just a mass of smoking curls. I went over, congratulated him and asked what he would do with the money that he had so deservedly earned. His red raw eyes stared at me in post traumatic blankness. Then, with a breath, now smelling of warm fermented stale Guinness, he replied in a quivering fatigued filled voice –
‘Gawd help me, I’m touching cloth. But I tell ye – next time I buy a car, I hope the feekin’ brakes work!’