Fire in the hole

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Blasting machine used in mining

"Fire in the hole" is a warning that an explosive detonation in a confined space is imminent. It originated with miners, who needed to warn their fellows that a charge had been set.[1] The phrase appears in this sense in state mining regulations,[2][3] in military and corporate procedures,[4][5] and in various mining and military blasting-related print books and narratives.[6]

The term is also used by NASA to refer to the technique of staging a multistage rocket by igniting an upper stage engine simultaneously with the ejection of the spent lower stage, rather than the more conservative practice of delaying ignition several seconds after ejection.

Use in media and popular culture[edit]

In amusement park rides[edit]

In events[edit]

  • It's also the name of a chili cookoff in Atlanta Georgia.[citation needed]

In films[edit]

  • In a deleted scene from Aliens (1986), where Hudson and Vasquez have set up two automated sentry cannons, they use the phrase before throwing out a decoy to test the sentry. The phrase is also used by Hudson in the Aliens movie when a flame thrower dropped by Drake sets light to the inside of the RPC after it has crashed into the alien's lair.
  • Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) uses it to warn her son John before the T-800 blows through a security door of the Cyberdyne Lab in the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).
  • It is used in Forest Gump (1994) when Tom Hanks serves as a tunnel rat in the Vietnam War.
  • It is used in Richie Rich (1994) when Professor Keenbean (Michael McShane), warns the crew working in the lab before firing a machine gun
  • Jim Breuer's character uses this phrase when he smokes out of a bong in the film Half Baked (1998).[relevant? ]
  • It is used by Agent Toby Lee Shavers (Michael Roof) in the movie XXX (2002), when testing and demonstrating his new explosive to undercover agent Xander Cage (Vin Diesel), in Czech Republic.
  • It is used by Stella the skunk in the film Over the Hedge (2006) before spraying the kitchen while most of the main characters are trapped inside.
  • JoJo's character says "Fire in the hole!" in RV (2006) when trying to clear the blocked sewer drain pipe in the RV.[7]

In literature[edit]

In music[edit]



In television[edit]

  • It is used by Executive Officer Bill Trainor aboard the destroyer EAS Alexander in Babylon 5, when he gives the order to destroy the Earthforce heavy cruiser, Clarkstown.[citation needed]
  • It is used repeatedly by Easy Company soldiers in Band of Brothers episode 2, "Day of Days" (2001), when blowing up German 105mm guns during the Brécourt Manor Assault.
  • It is used by Jack Hodgins in Bones every time he sets off an exploding experiment.
  • It is used by a campaigner in Boss season 1, when Illinois gubernatorial candidate Ben Zajac disembarks from his tour bus and walks toward the campaign office.
  • "Fire in the Hole" is used in season 5, episode 13 of Breaking Bad.
  • "Fire in the Hole" is the title of the pilot episode of the American TV series Justified; additionally, the phrase is repeatedly used by Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) when using rocket launchers or otherwise using explosives
  • Skipper yelled "Fire in the hole!" twice, in Madagascar and The Penguins of Madagascar.
  • "Fire in the Hole" is used in season 6, episode 1 of NCIS: Los Angeles
  • It is used by Chumlee when he shoots a bowling ball with a cannon in Pawn Stars.
  • The cast of the television series Sons of Guns occasionally use this prior to test-firing weapons they've built or restored, due to the potential for said weapon to suffer a catastrophic malfunction which may result in an explosion.
  • Plankton yelled, "FIRE IN THE HOLE!", in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Frozen Face Off".
  • It is often used in episodes of the Stargate franchise to warn that explosives are about to be used.
  • "Fire in the Hole" is used in season 1, episode 20 of The 100.
  • "Fire in the Hole" is a season 3 episode of The Shield.

In video games[edit]

This phrase can often be heard in combat-related video games, such as America's Army, Battlefield 2, Battlefield 3, Brothers In Arms, Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, CrossFire, Far Cry, Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Mass Effect 2, Point Blank, Postal 2, SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs, Sonic the Hedgehog, Tony Hawk's Underground 2, and others.

In OTC products[edit]

  • "Fire in the Hole" is the name of an anti-itch product developed for the US military and found in drug and grocery stores.[8]

In spaceflight[edit]

NASA has used the term to describe a means of staging a multistage rocket vehicle by igniting the upper stage simultaneously with the ejection of the lower stage, without a usual delay. On the Apollo 5 unmanned flight test of the first Apollo Lunar Module, a "fire in the hole test" used this procedure to simulate a lunar landing abort. Gene Kranz describes the test in his autobiography:

The fire-in-the-hole test involved shutting down the descent rocket, blowing the bolts that attached the ascent and descent stages, switching control and power to the ascent stage, and igniting the ascent rocket while still nestled to the landing stage.[9]