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It adds nothing to this story to say where and when it happened - but it did happen. The volunteer fire chief who shared the story still had the two firefighters in his brigade. Good firefighters, he said, even when they were really, really stoned.

The pair had been sitting on their front porch one summer afternoon working hard as they could on getting stoned out of their respective gourds. The area they were in was known for its marijuana production. The way these two smoked it seem to reflect a huge surplus in the market - one they were working hard to reduce.

They were about six joints past lunch time when the fire siren sounded. Ever alert to the sound, they bolted upright, stubbed out the joint they were smoking and jumped into the car parked in front of the house.

It goes against the current drug-driving advertisements, but these two knew the roads like they laid them. Roaring down the metal road, they were a rocket ship on rails, covering the road to the fire station in just minutes. They got into the station, feet into boots, trousers up and straps over shoulder. They climbed into the engine as the rest of the brigade arrived. The driver gunned the engine and the fire engine pulled out of the station.

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As stoned as they were, it took right up to the minute the fire engine pulled up to their house before they realised what had happened.

Flames were pouring out of the kitchen at the back of the house.

The pair realised at the same time they'd had the munchies about two joints into the afternoon. One had gone back to put food on, then headed back to the front of the house to continue working their way through the stash.

The fire was extinguished, the firefighters turning their hoses on their own home.

The event did nothing to reform their ways, the fire chief told me. He drank more beer and said: "Anyway, doesn't it just show that it's true? Where there's smoke there's fire."

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