But Why?: Why Is Fire Orange?

We visit Fireman’s Hall Museum in Philadelphia and get answers to a dozen questions about fire from Philly firefighter Lisa Desamour.

She tells us what fire is, why matches work to start fires, and why fire is often orange. Plus: how does water put out fire? How do smoke alarms work? Why do firefighters have Dalmatians?

Philadelphia plays an important role in the history of firefighting in the United States. The Union Fire Company, with help from Ben Franklin, was one of the early volunteer firefighting brigades. These days the Philadelphia Fire Department is staffed by career firefighters who do this work as their main job. Lisa Desamour has been on the department for more than a decade and she helps talk to school groups about fire safety.

But fires aren’t always an emergency, so later in the episode we’ll sit around a campfire with the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps and appreciate the warmth of the glowing flames.


But Why is a show led by you, kids!

You ask the questions and we find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there. On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world.

Science Topics
Chemistry, Heat
K-6, Middle School
4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade

What are you looking for?


But Why?

Website URL

Type of Resource


Assigned Categories