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A character is in a public building and for whatever reason, needs a weapon. He may be the hero in dire trouble and in need of a way to defend himself, or a villain who needs to prove just how Ax Crazy he is. But where does he find one...?

Simple: All public buildings have fire axes. It doesn't matter whether having a weapon in such easy reach would be irresponsible in that location, such as a school or an airplane. All the character needs to do is break glass, get ax. Sure, it might even set off an emergency alarm, but who cares?

Examples of Deus Ax Machina include:

Comic Books

  • The Batman villain known as KGBeast cut off his own hand with a fire ax when Batman trapped him by looping a rope around it, which of course leads to the question of why KGBeast didn't just cut the rope.


  • In Titanic, Rose finds a fire ax to cut Jack out of his situation.
  • During the final battle in Quantum of Solace, Dominic Greene attacks James Bond with a fire ax.
  • In The One starring Jet Li, during the final battle, Ulaw grabs a fire ax that was just hanging on a nearby safety rail.
  • Rourke actually uses a blimp's fire axe as an attempt to kill Milo during the climax of Atlantis the Lost Empire, only to miss and crack the window of a metal container containing a magical crystallized Kida, impaling himself by one of the pieces of broken glass in the process and causing him to turn into a horrific crystalline ice monster and being shredded by the blimp's propellers.

Interactive Fiction

  • In Infocom's The Lurking Horror, one can find a fire emergency cabinet in the middle of the university hallway. The description even notes that the glass-fronted cabinet lacks a fire extinguisher or hose, but contains a fire ax.

Live Action TV

  • Lana managed to find a fire ax in Smallville once.
  • An episode of CSI began with a student going insane with a fire ax from the building where all his friends were murdered. He was in the bathroom, just tripping on LSD that a couple of hookers had slipped him (hoping to steal some money he'd won earlier playing bingo) and their pimp (whom they'd shot and were trying to flee) was the one who used the ax to kill his friends.
  • In the first appearance of Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joyce hits Spike in the back of the head with a fire ax that was hanging in the hallway.
  • In a season 5 episode of Psych, a group of convicts hijack a ferry. They take the other passengers hostage, and one of the convicts has a fire ax while he stands guard.
  • The season 3 finale of 24, Chase was forced to cuff the final bomb to himself to keep it away from the villain. When Jack is unable to disable it and time is running short, Chase notices the fire ax on the wall and tells Jack to cut the hand off. (It's okay; they reattach it after the danger is over).
    • In a later season, Jack is being pursued up a flight of stairs. At the top he finds a fire ax, which he buries in the chest of the first pursuer to reach the top.

Video Games

  • Fire axes are everywhere in Left 4 Dead 2. May make sense in a shopping mall. But when they are scattered throughout a swamp, that's definitely Deus Ax Machina.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has Fire Axes; though they do turn up in a fire station, where you'd expect them to be, you also find them in the hands of random bandits and while rifling through boxes in office buildings.
  • A fire ax is the melee weapon for the Pyro in Team Fortress 2.
  • In Zork: Grand Inquisitor, there is a glass box on the wall in one of the first locations. It contains a sword, a small hammer and a scroll with a spell and is signed "In case of adventure, break glass."


  • While Axe Cop did find his ax "at the scene of a fire", it was just lying on the ground unattended.

Web Original

  • This has occurred a few times in Darwin's Soldiers. The examples are justified, though.
    • In Fool's Gold, Dr. Kerzach breaks into a control room and one of the workers snatches a fire ax hanging on the wall next to a fire hose and attacks him with it.
    • In Schrodinger's Prisoners, Dr. Shelton grabs a fire ax from an emergency station and uses it to break into the control room.
    • In the RP Disruptive Selection, Dr. Pauline Wayne breaks down the door to her lab with a fire ax that she took from an emergency station in her lab. She then later uses it to kill a zombie that tried to get aboard the helicopter on which she and two other survivors were going to evacuate.
  • In the third RP of the Insane Cafe Series, Zachary uses a fire ax to kill a magically summoned knight that attacked him.
    • Some guests also arm themselves with fire axes during the "war arc".

Western Animation

  • In Transformers Prime Miko finds an ax inside an observatory, which is promptly stolen by Soundwave. She finds another one inside a train, but the mooks leave when Optimus arrives. She has yet to hit anything with an ax.

Real Life

  • Merchant mariners have been known to use fire axes aboard ship as weapons, either due to a dispute or in preparation for pirate attacks.
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