three-alarm fire

(redirected from a 3-alarm fire)

three-alarm fire

1. A fire that is so large or intense that it requires the presence of many firefighting units to try to contain it. A three-alarm fire is the reason we heard all of those sirens last night
2. Someone or something that is very intense or stressful. Boy, this project has really become a three-alarm fire with all the other problems it's created.
See also: fire
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

a three-alarm fire

and a five-alarm fire
n. someone or something very exciting. Work was a nightmare today. A five-alarm fire with crisis after crisis.
See also: fire
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
On Sunday night a 3-alarm fire destroyed Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue, a landmark shulwhich has been unused and neglected for a decadeon Manhattan's Lower East Side.
WORCESTER - Firefighters were at the scene of a 3-alarm fire that heavily damaged a three-story apartment building at 62 Arlington St.
Roofers were using propane torches to install modified roofing started a 3-alarm fire that destroyed 30 apartments at 327 West 30th Street in Manhattan, leaving those residents homeless.