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  City Of Fire

When Thompson Tower, a huge shopping centre, catches fire as a result of a car accident, the authorities attempt vainly to isloate the flames unaware that they have trapped a family in the lower levels...

3000 feet up from the ground, a helijet is carrying a reporter who is showing his viewers a fantastic sight; the newly completed Thompson Tower. Opening today, it is a completely self-contained city and a person could live in it for a whole year. 10,000 parking spaces are located underground and linked to it via a monorail.

Virgil and Scott testing the gas

In a test chamber on Tracy Island, Virgil and Scott are testing a new cutting gas developed by Brains on a wall, supervised by Jeff, Brains and Tin-Tin. Penetration occurs after 15 seconds, three times faster than a laser beam, but the effects the gas will have on the user is unknown. A green light glows on the back of Virgil's gas cylinder and Tin-Tin detects that his blood pressure has risen but Brains dismisses it as normal reaction. Soon Scott's light is glowing too. Virgil begins to sway and neither answer Jeff's messages. Suddenly they both collapse.

Later in the sick room, Brains tells Jeff and Tin-Tin that the gas entered through the pores but has left no after-effects. Scott and Virgil both wake up and Jeff tells them to get some fresh air while Brains elects to carry on developing the gas.

The Carter family (Joe, Blanche and Tommy) and travelling to Thompson Tower in their car. Joe is annoyed with the driving of the woman in the car in front but the highway patrol pulls her in. Tommy sees the tower in the distance. They enter the underground car park, buy a ticket and park their car.

The other driver is outraged at being given a ticket. As she reaches the car park her husband tells her to brake but she presses the accelerator instead. The car smahes into another and the two of them make a hasty getaway as a fire starts. The Carters are by now lost in the maze of tunnels. In the control tower the by now raging fire is detected by tower control, in a separate building. Ten fire engines are sent for while the assistant checks each corridor and seals it with thick metal doors to prevent the fire from spreading.

While Joe and Blanche are examining a map, Tommy hides in a storeroom. His parents come after him, pretending to be the police. Meanwhile the assistant closes the door to their corridor, being unable to see them. The Carter's re-emerge to find themselves trapped in the corridor. The doors are now all closed by the fire spreads to the tower via the vent.

The corridor is beginning to fill with smoke so Joe tries baging on the door. The fire is raging up the building and the fire appliances are finding it impossible to control. While checking on the progress of the fire, the assistant sees the Carters. The controller has no idea how to reach them.

By the poolside, Scott claims to be feeling better than normal. Tin-Tin invites Alan into the water but he declines as he has to replace John in Thunderbird 5 in a few hours. John is packing and looking forward to his return when the tower controller calls for help.

By now the flames have reached the top of the building. Tommy lies down, terrified. Joe is angry that no one is coming to save them but Blanche thinks nobody knows that they are there. Scott takes off in Thunderbird 1 while Virgil launches Thunderbird 2, taking the Mole on Jeff's orders.

Thompson Tower is on the point of collapse and if it goes over, the roofs of the corridors may not hold up. Thunderbird 1 lands on a road just as the evacuation of the tower is complete. The tower controller tells the fire services to get away from the building for their own safety and the engines narrowly avoid being hit by falling rubble. Finally the tower collapses.

Having analysed the plans to the tunnels, Scott contacts Virgil and tells him that the only way they can cut through the doors is to use Brains' gas. Virgil and Jeff agree if it is the only way, but Brains is not keen. Thunderbird 2 lands and Scott tells Virgil to use Firefly to clear a path to the point where they can begin drilling.

The Carter family

The roof of the Carters' corridor is beginning to crack. Suddenly Tommy falls unconcious. In his heat-proof suit, Virgil drives Firefly from the pod and begins to shovel the wreckage out of the way, despite the intense heat. Scott drives to the pod in a car provided by tower control. Firefly becomes stuck at a particually large mount. Virgil fires the cannon three times to clear a way through then begins clearing more rubble. Scott drives the Jet Mole from the pod. Reaching the drilling point, Virgil turns Firefly around and drives back until he reaches the Mole and joins Scott inside.

Firefly clearing the rubble

The Mole begins drilling at the end of the cleared path and surfaces in the nearest possible corridor. Mercifully, the lights are still recieving power. Mounting their hoverbikes, Scott and Virgil proceed to the first steel door and begin to cut it with the gas. These doors are not as thick as the test door but there are more of them. The green light on each of their packs glows but nothing happens. Having got the one door open, they move forward and begin cutting the others. The roofs are caving in in other corridors.

Scott and Virgil leave the Mole

Joe is the only Carter still concious. Seeing a flare come through the door, he first believes it is the fire but quickly realises that it is somebody cutting. Scott and Virgil knock down the door, quickly load the Carters onto their hoverbikes and get out just as the ceiling collapses.

On the surface there is a massive explosion and the assistant tower controller sees the ground give way. The controller believes the International Rescue men to be dead until the assistant sees the Mole coming out of the ground. Scott reports to them that all are safe.

Back at base, Brains explains that the heat dispersed the gas before it became harmful; if the gas is placed in electrically heated cylinders prior to use, it should be safe in future. Tin-Tin reads a newspaper article about the event in which International Rescue is praised again. Meanwhile the woman driver who caused the disaster narrowly avoids another road accident.

Verdict: A very ordinary episode. Good nevertheless, but with nothing particually special bar the idea of Brains' new gas. Also it is the only time that the two regular pod vehicles, the Mole and Firefly, have been seen together.
4/6
Broadcast information: Broadcast on BBC 2 on Sunday 17th September 2000 at 5:55 pm.

DVD availability: On Volume 4 and the Complete Box Set.

VHS availability: On Volume 8, the Pod 1 Box Set and the Complete Box Set.