Produced to celebrate the work of the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS), FIRES WERE STARTED is a drama-documentary recounting a day in the life of those men charged with the responsibility of dousing fires during the Blitz of 1940-41 in London's Docklands. None of the actors are professional; they have been encouraged to play the roles of 'ordinary' people. As a result some of the performances are better than others. What renders the film truly remarkable is the fact that it was produced under very difficult conditions with high production values: the re- enactments of the nighttime air raids are convincing, with staged scenes intercut with actual footage. Produced as a propaganda piece to celebrate the virtues of community, of people pulling together at a time of great stress, FIRES WERE STARTED shows the difficulties experienced by Londoners at that time; not only during but after the nightly raids; how the city picked itself up and continued working, even after the heaviest bombing. The actors manage to create a spirit of community - not only through working but also singing, eating and drinking together. The film is an invaluable record of life during the Second World War: should be required viewing for any social historians interested in the period.