from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Nautical, a peculiar beat of the drum to order men to their stations on an alarm of fire; a summons to fire-quarters; in the United States navy, the rapid ringing of the ship's bell as an alarm-signal of fire.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
As soon as the wounded men had been taken below, the captain desired the boatswain to pipe to quarters, for the drummer, when called to beat the "fire-roll," had been summoned to his last account.
"fire-roll" to be beat by the drummer, and sent down to ascertain the extent of the mischief.