This took place back in the early seventies back in Wales
It was a warm spring Sunday afternoon and several of us were in "our" pub having a quick pint before lunch. The pub had been defined as ours by the fact they had not barred us after a dozen of us had left in a rush when the siren sounded, and they had kept our un-consumed pints behind the bar for our return.
We were just contemplating going home when siren started up, (this was in pre-pager days when every one in the town knew when there was a call, and all usually ducked for cover!) Once again we tested the patience of the bar tender as six made for the door at the same time. Now once outside the bar most of us were on foot but one of the guys had a car, well, it was amazing how many could fit in an Austin Mini, and how fast we could get in and out once we arrived at the station.
On arrival at the station we found it was a call for "smell of burning" at Ianto Evan's farm house on the outskirts of town. Now, on the last call to this farm, for one of his barns going up in flames, Ianto had proved a gracious and generous host, very free with his home made beer and his good wife's cooking, so with these memories it was a very, very quick turnout, the water tender and the pump escape were shooting out of the station in record time with us inside pulling up our leggings and buttoning up our tunics, and thinking more about missed lunches than smells of smoke.
When we got there Ianto was waiting for us with a worried expression on his florid face, “I tell you boys, the smell is all over the house it is. Don’t know where to too look, you had best come on in. See if you can do better than me”.
Well, the ten of us and our station officer walked all over that old farm house, from the attic where we inspected the thatched roof for our worst case scenario, to the cellar, yes we could smell the smoke, but, no sign of it. These days we would use a thermal imaging camera, but in those days, nose, Mk1, sniffing for the use of and hands, two, feeling for hot spots, were all we had and we used these all over to no avail. No sign of fire, no sign of heat just the pervasive smell of smoke.
We had been there long enough to be well fed by his wife, pass our expert opinion on his home made brew, (the drivers however were not amused at not having any). When one of the more observant of us, a driver I think, came out with an interesting question. “Is it me or have any of you noticed that the smell of burning seems to fade away at times”?
He was right, it did fade away, especially when Ianto went out to his shed to get more of his home brew. Ah ha, Ianto, over here man, and there, as we looked, little wisps of smoke were emerging from the pocket of his jacket.
The log book entry for that shout read: Small hay fire, source of ignition, carelessly discarded pipe.
You see, Ianto was an incurable pipe smoker but his missus had banned him from smoking "that smelly old thing in my house" and absent minded Ianto had not put it out, instead it went, still lit into the pocket of his working jacket that he had worn while putting down feed for the cows for the past few years, with hay getting in to the pockets.
The florid face turned a little redder, and our silence was bought by a crate of his home brew for our next darts night in the station.