The novel is set in a futuristic world where firemen start fires and all books are banned. A fireman named Guy Montag meets a young beautiful 17 year old girl named Clarisse McClellan while walking home from work one day. Clarisse asked Montag if he was happy. This innocent question made Montag evaluate his life.
Montag and his station responded to an alarm that an old lady had books in her house. As the firemen try to make her leave she sets herself on fire and dies with her books. Montag knows it is illegal but he takes a book and sworn to destroy it.
Captain Beatty knows Montag took a book from the old lady's house. Beatty is trying to explain why books are censored, hoping he can reason with Montag. Beatty throughout the book says verses out of many famous literatures even though his job is to destroy literature.
The alarm goes off and Montag and his station respond to it. They pull up to Montag's house. Beatty makes him burn everything with a flamethrower. Beatty then tried to arrest Montag for having the green ear piece. Montag still had the flamethrower so he pointed it at Beatty and set him on fire, killing him on the spot. Montag destroys the hound and knock out Stoneman and Black. He then runs for his life
Montag runs to Faber's house. Faber gave him a shot of whiskey after turning on the tv and finding out that a new hound from a different district and several helicopters are searching for him. Montag asked for Faber's dirtest clothes and to get rid of his scent to confused the hound. Faber tells Montag to run to the river and he will meet people there
Montag meets Granger by the river. Granger explains how people are named certain books because they memorize them. A few days after he killed Beatty enemy jets flew over the city and dropped bombs taking almost everything out. Montag, Granger and the book people survive and plan on rebuilding civilization.