Fire Extinguisher Danger and Deaths

Majority of the population view fire extinguishers as a life safety device and rightfully so. They are designed to extinguish a small fire that’s a danger to people, assets and property. Not commonly known, is that fire extinguishers are pressurised and can cause significant injury and even death.

For this very reason fire extinguishers are serviced. Your provider may look like they are just doing a normal day’s work but that work, and servicing of a fire extinguisher can save lives. So how do they cause injures and are there any cases of actual deaths?

Causes of fire extinguisher failures can be categorised as below:

  1. Over pressurizing a fire extinguisher cylinder. Many fire extinguishers have a small gauge to show red for under pressurized or over pressurized and green for safe working pressures.Note: Not all fire extinguishers have gauges such as CO2 extinguishers.
  2. Cylinder failure, being that fire extinguishers aren’t a complete sealed unit and are made up of different components, damage or corrosion to any part can cause failure.

Fire extinguisher related injuries aren’t just a thing of the past 19th century. Given the popularity and use to stop fires, cases are still occurring in today’s age, even with manufacturing qualities significantly higher.



Park Street, restaurant One Step Up, 4 people injured when a fire extinguisher exploded. This was a CO2 fire extinguisher and doesn’t have a gauge typically on portable units.

These are fatalities and we won’t go into great detail, however give enough information to provide the reader with knowledge and the risk of a life safety fire extinguisher and why they are inspected.


6 June 2015

Mbombela, fire service technician attends site and begins servicing when the cylinder exploded.

20 January 2016

During a weekly demonstration of the use of a fire extinguisher the unit exploded, even though the unit was inspected the rubber base was not removed and showed excessive corrosion to the base. When the fire agent was moved in the cylinder the action was enough to push past the corrosion.

14 May 2020

Two young men in Manhattan refilling fire extinguishers when one exploded while recharging.

Australia has a higher test routine than some of the countries above and also higher OHS requirements. These two factors allow for higher personal safety for not only people working in the industry but also people whom have access or work close to fire extinguishers.