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Usually, before the firemen arrived at the house, the occupants had already been arrested and taken away. However, in this call, Mrs. Blake was still at home. Montag found this inconvenient because it made it more personal. Before it was all about "things," not people. It was simply "janitorial work."
Even worse, Mrs. Blake refused to be taken away. She soaked herself with kerosene, lit a match, and set herself on fire. It affected the entire fire crew. They began to question, if only temporarily, the virtue of their job. For Montag it would be one of the events that eventually lead him to open rebellion.
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