Ladder 49 is a 2004 film about the heroics of a Baltimore fireman Jack Morrison, who is trapped inside a warehouse fire and his recollection of the events that got him to that point. The movie is a celebration of the firefighting profession and the life that comes with it. It was directed by Jay Russell.
The film opens with Baltimore City Fire Department firefighter Jack Morrison saving a man's life in a burning warehouse in the Canton neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. However, the grain being stored in the warehouse explodes, sending Jack tumbling several floors where he breaks his leg. The film follows the efforts of the other men in his unit led by BCFD Deputy Chief Mike Kennedy, his longtime mentor, to rescue him while Jack tries to reach a safe area of the burning structure. Interspersed with the current rescue efforts are a series of flashbacks showing how Jack joined the fire department, his meeting with the woman who would become his wife, his relationship with his children and the bond he formed with his fellow firefighters.
After some time working with BCFD Engine Company 33, Jack takes a position as a search and rescue member, who enter the burning buildings to locate and rescue people trapped by the fire, on BCFD Ladder Company 49, making his work much more dangerous and challenging as the years pass. (Engine 33 and Ladder 49 are kept at the same firehouse). He finds the work rewarding, but his wife is initially concerned for his safety and opposes the change; however, she eventually accepts his new role and even talks him out of taking an administrative position when it is offered to him. He suffers some traumatic experiences, such as the loss of a friend in the line of duty and also another friend's severe injury while searching for victims. One night he is able to break through to a small girl trapped in a burning apartment, but is trapped himself briefly before being rescued. Both he and his colleague receive the Medal of Valor for their actions.
Back at the grain building fire the efforts by Jack's fellow firefighters are extremely determined and Jack does his best to reach the possible safe area that Mike told him about. However, upon reaching that room he sees that the only exit is cut off by raging flames and Jack realizes that his situation is hopeless. He radios Mike to pull his men back, so no-one else will be hurt while trying to rescue him. Mike reluctantly agrees and Jack accepts his fate to die in the fire. At Jack's funeral, Mike delivers an emotional eulogy which receives a standing ovation from friends and family in attendance. Jack's body is then carried to his resting place with full honors. The film ends with Mike and his fellow firefighters going on a call and a final shot of him and Jack coming out of Jack's first ever burning building.
Chief Kennedy: It's never an easy thing, saying goodbye to a brother firefighter, it's not. And this time, particularly is difficult for me because I watched Jack grow into a, well, into one of the finest firefighters I've ever known. He joined this department because he wanted to help people, who knows how many homes are still standing because Jack was there or how many lives were spared. He gave his life for that cause. We'll never forget you Jack. And we're better for having known you. But I make you this one promise, tomorrow when that bell rings, we will be back on the truck, because you were the bravest of the brave. People are always asking me, how is it that firefighters run into a burning building when everyone else is running out? Well, Jack, you answered that question by saving another man's life. Your courage is the answer. And today we will be as brave as you, by not mourning you, but by celebrating your life. So I'd like everyone to stand up and celebrate the life of Jack Morrison.
Linda Morrison: Hi, I've heard alot about you! Chief Kennedy: Yeah? Linda Morrison: Yeah; you wear really sexy boxers, right? With the red love hearts on them?... little too tight?
Jack Morrison: Tell Linda I love her... That I've loved her from the second I saw her.
|Release Date||20 September 2004|
|US Box Office||$74,000,000|
|Tagline||A bond forged by fire is never broken.|
|Genre||Action, Drama, Thriller|
|Filming Locations||Baltimore, Maryland, USA|
|Sound Mix||DTS, Dolby Digital, SDDS|
|Film Class||Melodrama, Family Drama|
|Themes||Daring Rescues, Fathers and Daughters, Redemption|
|Tones||Earnest, Gritty, Tense, Warm|