So, a couple of weeks ago the fire brigade were called out to fix a boiler which was making a tremendous racket. This wouldn't be newsworthy in the slightest, except for the fact that the Lib Dem MP who called them out blogged about it, and the Tory chairman of London's fire authority criticised her for it ("This is not a 999 emergency. If your boiler is making a noise you switch it off"). Just to make things more fun, a spokesman for the London Fire Brigade said "But if your boiler suddenly starts making strange noises in the middle of the night, call the fire brigade."
Interesting split of opinion there. I'll side with the spokesman - if my boiler starting banging at 3am, I'd call them too.
My family has in the past called out the fire brigade for similar reasons: many years ago our washing machine choose to fill itself with smoke. So we disconnected it from the mains supply and called the fire brigade, who were quite happy to come round and check it wasn't actually on fire. I got the impression that it made a nice change of pace from dealing with actual fires.