The Fire Breathers was a specialized division of the Responders dedicated to fighting the Scorched before 2102.[1]


Before the Great War many members had served West Virginia as firefighters and emergency services, mostly operating in Charleston, West Virginia. Their division was led by Melody Larkin and originally assembled with the goal of exploring the toxic Ash Heap region.[1][2]

The Fire Breathers were initially founded by the Responders as an elite, high-risk fire fighting team to reach out to towns trapped beyond the toxic Ash Heap: Bramwell, Beckley, Welch, and others. Although Larkin wasn't thrilled by the idea, she warmed up to it quickly and helped establish a completely new division, capable of fighting through the hostile environment and surviving there for days on end. The name was her idea, meant to imbue the division with a prestige similar to other elite units: Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and especially smokejumpers.[2]

The origin was less glamorous: Fire Breathers was a term used by her grandfather's neighbors to refer to him and his sons, courtesy of the insanely strong moonshine they brewed that kept people at a quarter-mile distance. Although Maria Chavez wanted to brainstorm the name more, it stuck, and the Fire Breathers were formed. After agreeing with survivors of the Charleston flood who still lived in the city, the Breathers used the ruins as an obstacle course in preparation for the challenge of operating in the Ash Heap.[3]

For the next several years, the Fire Breathers distinguished themselves and were supercharged with the arrival of Hank Madigan, a Marine Force Recon and Brotherhood veteran. With the Scorched threat looming on the horizon, they were reformed into a fighting force capable of confronting the Scorched in the Ash Heap and prevent them from taking over. The steep selection criteria focused on people who could both fight and survive in the polluted expanse of the burning Ash Heap.[1] In return for handling the toughest missions, all members of the Fire Breathers had top priority for rations and ammunition, as well as additional ad hoc benefits for those willing to put their lives on the line.[4]

The unit was immediately thrown into the fire, trying to contain the influx of scorched into the area after the fall of the Brotherhood of Steel and the Big Bend Tunnel. While the strategic importance of the tunnel was known, the Breathers gave it a wide berth in order to come up with a proper attack plan.[5] Preparing for the plan involved making a run at the Atomic Mining Headquarters in Watoga, cutting over the mountains. Lieutenant Madigan believed that the headquarters could provide information on how to combat the scorched more effectively, owing to AMS' monopoly on the ore.[6]

Madigan and his team not only succeeded in infiltrating Watoga, but also brought back plans for weapons firing depleted ultracite (potent against the scorched) and leads for the Excavator power armor developed by the Garrahan Mining Company. The power armor was considered a target of opportunity while the Fire Breathers figured out how to seal the tunnel off and stem the influx of scorched into the Heap.[7] Eventually, they settled on blowing the tunnel up using mining explosives recovered from the Heap.[8]

After the fall of the Brotherhood in 2095, Madigan ventured beyond the mountains into The Mire and made contact with the Free States, after deliberately disturbing their scorchbeast lure. Impressed by the fact the Staters were luring the monsters down to kill them, he decided to aid them in setting up the Scorched Detection System, so that once the Big Bend Tunnel was locked down, they could focus on eliminating the Scorched in the Divide and the Mire together. He left Charleston to set up the crucial uplink at the Top of the World, to finalize the SDS. He was, unfortunately, captured by the raiders under David Thorpe and tortured to death. His loss forced the Breathers to move out from The Rusty Pick on their own.[8]

To make matters worse, the Fire Breathers did not have the protection of a Scorched vaccine worked on at the AVR Medical Center, due to shortages of necessary materials and data.[9]

Big Bend Tunnel became the Fire Breathers' grave, with the unit wiped out by the Scorched, despite desperate efforts to fulfill the mission in spite of standing orders to retreat.[10][11]


The Fire Breathers were comprised of pre-War firefighters and post-War volunteers. They refined tactics and developed equipment specifically for fighting the Scorched, notably using pre-War fire protection gear as armor as well as Fire Breather uniforms. Firefighter Protectrons at the Charleston Fire Department were reprogrammed to assist the Fire Breathers in their new role.

To join the Fire Breathers, potential recruits were required to complete an exam comprised of three tests; a written exam, a fitness exam and a final exam testing the practical application of the recruit's abilities in a hostile environment.[1]

Interactions with the player character

While the Fire Breathers have been wiped out, their Protectrons and equipment can be utilized by the player character. One of these Protectrons, Bernie, appears during the quest Into the Fire, in which the player character participates in the Fire Breathers' recruitment exam. Bernie presents the player character with the equipment necessary for the final test and instructs on how to formally become a Fire Breather upon its completion.

The player character can find the bodies of Sergeants Allemane, Cominsky, and Holstein at Big Bend Tunnel. Collecting the three codes found on their corpses will unlock plans for anti-Scorched weapon mods at the Fire Breathers' master terminal in the Charleston Fire Department.


  • Charleston Fire Department - Their main, and so far only, base of operations.
  • Belching Betty - A Scorched-infested mine, the player character is sent during Into the Fire to clear it and activate the emergency beacon of a team of Fire Breathers previously sent there.
  • Brim Quarry - A Scorched-infested quarry, it was successfully cleared by a Fire Breathers team led by Lieutenant Thomas on March 10, 2095. It has been reoccupied in subsequent years.
  • Big Bend Tunnel - The location of the Fire Breathers' last mission. The corpses of Sergeants Allemane, Cominsky, and Holstein can be found here.

Known members

  • Melody Larkin - Leader. Last reported leading a mission to seal Big Bend Tunnel.[11]
  • Hank Madigan - Killed by raiders while attempting to fix a relay for the Free States' Scorched Detection system. Corpse can be found in a cage on the Top of the World's observation level.
  • Sgt. Allemane - Died during the Fire Breathers' final mission. Corpse can be found at Big Bend Tunnel West, near the tunnel entrance.
  • Sgt. Cominsky - Died during the Fire Breathers' final mission. Corpse can be found in the Big Bend Tunnel, near the end of a side tunnel with railroad tracks running south.
  • Sgt. Holstein - Died during the Fire Breathers' final mission. Corpse can be found at Big Bend Tunnel East, near the tunnel entrance.
  • Lieutenant Thomas - A lieutenant in both the pre-War Charleston F.D. and later the Fire Breathers. At one point was charged with clearing Brim Quarry. [12]
  • Dustin - A member of Lieutenant Thomas' squad at Brim Quarry. After Garrett's death, he attempted to console the squad by reasoning his death was relatively painless.[12]
  • Garrett - A member of Lieutenant Thomas' squad at Brim Quarry. Died whilst clearing the quarry summit and was buried in its shipping yard.[12]
  • Omar - A member of Lieutenant Thomas' squad at Brim Quarry.[12]
  • Yas - A member of Lieutenant Thomas' squad at Brim Quarry.[12]
  • Leo Chase - Last reported leaving to perform a mission to seal Big Bend Tunnel.[11]
  • Jim Greyson - Reluctantly performed the Fire-Breather's physical exam in Charleston.[13]
  • Wastelanders Marcus Haines - Died fighting the Scorched at Morgantown Airport.[14]
  • Andrew Rhodes - Died while attempting to clear Belching Betty as part of the final Fire Breathers' exam.
  • Maxine Ballard - Died while attempting to clear Belching Betty as part of the final Fire Breathers' exam.
  • Rita Wilcox - Died while attempting to clear Belching Betty as part of the final Fire Breathers' exam.
  • Sylvester Tate - Died while attempting to clear Belching Betty as part of the final Fire Breathers' exam.
  • Timothy Wolfe - Died while attempting to clear Belching Betty as part of the final Fire Breathers' exam.
  • Wastelanders Tiffany Brantley - New initiate residing in the Fire Department in 2103.


The Fire Breathers appear only in Fallout 76.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Charleston Fire Department terminal entries; Fire Breathers training system, Knowledge Exam
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Fire Breathers
  3. Charleston terminal entries: "Woman named Melody stopped by. Said she was with the Responders. Wanted to know if it was all right if some of her trainees used my street for an obstacle course. Like it was some sort of friendly neighbor meet-and-greet. They're crazy, still trying to operate in Charleston after the flood, but I guess they're in good company, seeing as I'm still here too. At least my turrets will keep the critters off their backs while they're... proving whatever it is they need to prove."
  4. Morgantown Airport terminal entries: "All,
    I just wanted to remind everyone that the Fire Breathers unit is always looking for more manpower.
    If you think you've got what it takes to handle our toughest missions and take on the Scorched, then Melody and Madigan would love to meet you.
    Don't forget, it's a dangerous assignment, but it comes with benefits. You'll have top priority for both rations and ammunition. We ask the Fire Breathers to put their lives on the line, but we reward their bravery where we can.
    The job's not for everyone, but if you think you can handle the recruitment process and training, then I ask you to consider signing up.
    - Chavez"
  5. Charleston Fire Department terminal entries: "{{
    ATTN: All Active Fire Breathers
    {{ SUBJ: Big Bend Off Limits
    As many of you've heard by now, we've traced the influx of Scorched to a single source - Big Bend Tunnel. Initial reports suggest the parties we've run across so far are only the beginning. Now, we're not going to sit on our thumbs while these things make their way into the Heap, but we're not about to waste lives by rushing in without a plan.
    So until further notice, all patrols and scouting parties should steer clear of Big Bend Tunnel and the surrounding area. And no one leaves the station without a firearm.
    || Melody ||"
  6. Charleston Fire Department terminal entries: "{{ ATTN: All Active Fire Breathers
    {{ SUBJ: Scouts for AMS HQ
    We've got a good lead on some tech that should make blowing holes in the Scorched easier, and we're looking for volunteers to go collect.
    The crew will be cutting a route across the mountains to get there, since Big Bend's still in the hands of the freaks, then heading into the heart of Watoga, which has apparently gone haywire without proper adult supervision.
    For this reason, any volunteers will be outfitted with only the finest in firepower. All interested, please speak to Lieutenant Madigan.
    || Melody ||"
  7. Charleston Fire Department terminal entries: "
    {{ ATTN: All Active Fire Breathers
    {{ SUBJ: Excavator Power Armor
    Check-in from Madigan's latest "field trip" yielded a tip on some new gear.
    Rumor is that Garrahan Mining's "Excavator Armor," while maybe not the mining method of the future, was actually a seriously rugged hunk of machinery. Smoke/fire/gas-resistant. And apparently the Garrahans kept all the tech to make them in their very own basement.
    Any Fire Breathers that find themselves in the vicinity of Bramwell should pop into the old Garrahan HQ, see if they can find any old suits lying around.
    || Melody ||"
  8. 8.0 8.1 Charleston Fire Department terminal entries: "{{ ATTN: All Active Fire Breathers
    {{ SUBJ: Muster Point - The Rusty Pick
    All right, ladies and gents. Word has come down from on high - we've got exactly no more time to wait for Madigan to show. So we're going to have to do this without him.
    We move on Big Bend tomorrow. Muster point is The Rusty Pick. You're to be in gear and ready to move by 0700.
    Sleep well, tonight. Because tomorrow, we're saving Appalachia.
    || Melody ||"
  9. AVR Medical Center terminal entries
  10. Orders from Melody
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Out of time (holotape)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Lt. Thomas' action report
  13. Course instructions
  14. Vault Dweller: "You mentioned a brother?"
    Dontrelle Haines: "Marcus. Five years younger than me, star running back in high school, and handsome, too. Had all the ladies chasing him. He followed me into the army and became an MP, then got out and moved to Morgantown. Signed up with the police. Back then, I was still living in Cincinnati. We'd talk on the radio. He tried to get me to come out here and join the Responders more than once. I do miss him."
    (Dontrelle Haines' dialogue)
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