back to article Fire extinguisher resolves German smoking dispute

An anti-smoking German man earned himself a light cuffing last Sunday after his girlfriend declined a request to stop smoking in his flat, and he responded by emptying a fire extinguisher over her and the Bielefeld domicile. According to Spiegel, the 42-year-old reacted angrily to his missus lighting up, gave her a bit of a …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Mike Morris

    Live longer and dumber...

    I gave up the weed years ago and have periodically felt smugly superior for my triumph. Alas, this twit has definitively shown that brains and backy-free are not necessarily a guaranteed pairing.

    OTOH, One of those kid happy super-soakers might have been the preferred attack vector here. Certainly would have been easier to clean up.


  2. yeah, right.


    He should have emptied the whole fire extinguisher just on her, not his whole flat.

    But damn, I've wanted to do just that to certain smoking Neanderthals who insist on lighting up where they really shouldn't.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Agreed on the supersoaker

    I guess the colour of her shirt wasn't recorded?

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Proportional response.

    Surely a more proportional response would have been a conversation along the lines of:

    Him: "I really don't like smoking, do you mind not smoking in my flat please."

    Her. "Sod off."

    Him: "If you don't stop smoking in here, I'll have to ask you to leave. If you are hideously addicted, then just go outside."

    Her: "Sod off."

    Him: "You're dumped."

    Of course, the fire extinguisher is a lot funnier...

  6. Fluffykins Silver badge

    It seems

    the young lady was put out.

  7. Tim Spence

    Ah, but...

    ...were any mobiles damaged in the incident, and what make and model were they?

    The Reg really doesn't give us the facts we need.

    For the record, this guy is my new hero.

  8. Ian Ferguson


    Good on him for the theory, but a bit dimwitted in practice, doing it in his own flat.

    Those powder extinguishers are awful - I hear that if one is used in a computer room, every computer has to be replaced, as the powder gets everywhere (including inside power supplies, over components, etc) and can't be cleaned off effectively. Bleargh.

  9. Spleen


    "Ach, mein Gott, vat a horrible experience, I can't believe it took so long for the polizei to let me go. And that stupid voman has left her cigarettes on my kitchen table as vell. These are going straight in the bin."

    "Hmm, you know vat, I should have one. They are supposed to take the edge off stress. And then I can say I've tried smoking and they do nothing for me."

    "Who could that be ringing at this hour? I'll just put this down."

    "Verdammt, it's caught fire! I'll just put it out with my fire extinguisher... ach, scheisse."

    If hysterical overreaction and assaulting women with fire extinguishers is a side-effect of not enough nicotine to the brain, I'm going to take up smoking right now before it's too late.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better off

    He's better off without the recalcitrant cow who won't accede to a request not to smoke in *his* house.

    She's better off without the hair trigger nutjob who lets off a powder extinguisher in his own house.

    World's better off not having those two stressing each other out.

    Bit of a result, really. Shame about the cleaning bills.

  11. Chris
    Paris Hilton

    But why?

    So this guy was a militant anti-smoker, but had a smoker for a girlfriend? Serves him right, I say. Unless that's the only way Germans can find girls willing to suck on long, thin, white cylinders.

    Paris, because, well you know.

  12. Dale Richards

    @yeah, right

    Have you ever tried discharging a powder-based extinguisher? The shit goes everywhere.

    My guess is that he probably tried to empty it over the girl only, and failed.

  13. Tim Spence

    RE: Better off

    "Bit of a result, really. Shame about the cleaning bills."

    Doubt the cleaning company is too annoyed though.

  14. Mike Moyle

    Re: Better off

    @ AC:

    "World's better off not having those two nimrods polluting the gene pool together."

    ... I fixed that for you.

  15. Peter Leech Silver badge


    > Those powder extinguishers are awful - I hear that if one is used in a computer room, every computer has to be replaced, as the powder gets everywhere (including inside power supplies, over components, etc) and can't be cleaned off effectively. Bleargh.

    Thats why all the extinguishers in and around computer rooms are CO2.

  16. E_Nigma
    Paris Hilton

    God knows how and when it started

    All the anger and frustration that sometimes piles up inside people in long-term relationships often gets let out over trivial issues.

    Also, the woman was extremely rude, as I know a lot of smokers who are very careful about where they smoke in their own homes. But they are both idiots for their behavior, and I must say I wish that they stayed together: the two of them will probably be bugging some other people pretty soon.

    Paris for the two (probably) blond Germans (and because I'd extinguish her).

  17. Anonymous Coward

    It must be a hoax...

    ... because Bielefeld doesn't exist:

  18. Graham Jordan

    But a shame

    he didn't own a co2 fire extinguisher.

    Slightly more brutal but certainly makes your opinion a hell of a lot more clear. And less mess to clean up. Assuming you're not to shy with handling corpses.

  19. punissuer

    past what's due?

    "The girlfriend duly called cops"

    What's so due about her calling the cops if she wasn't hurt and it wasn't even her apartment? Why shouldn't she just leave?

    Gotta agree that it's funny, though--and a good thing if they stay broken up.

  20. Paul

    Why take HIM away?

    If the police decided to take someone away, then surely it should have been the visitor, rather than the resident of the flat. She had initiated the conflict by smoking in his flat, so prevention of escalation would be the removal of the temporary cause of the conflict (i.e. her, and not herr).

  21. Anonymous Coward


    Ah yes, good ol' Dry Chemical Power - lovely stuff. Not

    I was a fireman for several years, and never once used it. Gimme CO2 (also useful for chilling drinks/ calming down idiots/ cats/ etc) any day

    Mind you, we did, once, empty a DCP extinguisher into a Merc that had parked illegally and we had to lay our water lines (from the hydrants) to the next hydrant several hundred meters up the road.

    Made a right mess that did.

  22. Daniel B.


    Ahhh... so now I will buy a fire extinguisher for *my* apartment. I have a strict NO SMOKING policy in there, but my previous method of "bucket of water over smoker" is no longer viable because I actually have good furniture in my living room now. ;)

    Seriously. Its bad enough having a co-worker who doesn't give a crap about no-smoking policies and smoking right next to you; you don't have to take that crap in your own flat! Wanna smoke at my place? Open the window and smoke with your head outside. Don't want to? Then get out! A fire extinguisher might not have been the best solution, but it definitely must have been veery fun!

    mine's the one with the CO2 extinguisher</coat>

  23. Herby

    Fire extringuishers

    Yes, the power in dry chemical extinguishers will get every where, but they are useful, and do work (on car fires especially, as I personally know). As for having CO2 bottles in computer rooms, they might ban them soon due to global warming. Then again, if imported into London, they may be subject to a congestion charge (even in the back of a Porsche!).

    I'm outta here. Bye.

    P.S. The guy did what everyone really WANTED to do but didn't have the guts!

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Better off... ?

    "World's better off not having those two stressing each other out."

    I think not:

    "By any other arrangement, four people would have been unhappy instead of two."

    (Alfred Lord Tennyson, commenting on the marriage of Carlyle vs. Welsh)

  25. heystoopid

    How soon we forget

    How soon we forget the sticky tar and nicotine substances in the cigarette cling to everything just as effectively !

    Or the old order of house rules too

    But it sounds like the ex was really looking for an excuse to clean out the apartment on her way out the door and the only thing left was to empty the joint accounts as the furnishings now have nil all value !

    The pic's of her with the white powder coating will be undoubtedly flying around the net at near the speed of light now !

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Ol' Steve Martin line

    Do you mind if I smoke?

    Steve Martin: Do you mind if I fart?

    Forgot what movie/stand-up routine this line is from.....

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    "Verdammt, it's caught fire! I'll just put it out with my fire extinguisher... ach, scheisse."


  28. John Ferris

    I would have more than cuffed him

    Yes, dry powder extinguishers are messy, you will be hoovering the carpets for weeks. Yes they are the worst thing to use on electrical fires because as someone said it makes sure that nothing is worth salvaging.

    What a lot of people don't know is that the powder itself isn't the nicest thing to have sprayed on you and presumably being breathed in in relatively large abounts. If someone attacked me with a hazardous chemical I would definitly be calling the police.

    As far as CO2 extinguishers and global warming goes, they won't be banned as there is no suitable alternative, in fact use of CO2 has increased since the banning of halon extinguishers. CO2 is produced as a byproduct of other industrial processes, but instead of being lost up a chimney, it is collected and used. So your CO2 fire extinguisher is actually reducing the amount of the gas in the air by keeping it in a cylinder.

    OK, I've got my coat.

  29. Jon Tocker


    >>"By any other arrangement, four people would have been unhappy instead of two."

    (Alfred Lord Tennyson, commenting on the marriage of Carlyle vs. Welsh)<<

    Excellent quote but what if the bloke concerned were to locate himself a non-smoking (and thereby unlikely to trigger his psychotic episodes) girlfriend and the girl were to locate a smoking (and thereby likely to be accepting of her habit) boyfriend - no one would need to become powder coated or arrested.

    For the record, I do not smoke inside non-smokers homes out of respect for them.

    Were a non-smoker to disrespect me enough to empty a fire extinguisher of any sort over me, they would *need* to be taken from the scene - most likely to the nearest emergency proctologist...

  30. Anonymous Coward


    Smoking should be compulsory. Anything that kills off fascist health-freaks quicker than "extreme sports" can't be all bad.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why is this so reminiscent of an old BOFH episode? Replace the girl with the boss and the dry chemicals with Halon and voila.

  32. Seán

    Second hand antismoke

    He probably got three lifetimes worth of secondary smoke carcinogens down his neck while breathing in the chemicals in the fire extinguisher. Man has used fire for cooking for almost 2 million years but we didn't invent the chimney until pretty recently. This hypersensitivity to a bit of smoke is prissy to say the least.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I believe you will note for the record that human lifespans until recently have been... shall we say... suboptimal. I think I'd generally avoid using humanity's survival through the 'miserable, brutish and short' phase as a role model for current healthcare standards...

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @David Wiernicki

    'I think I'd generally avoid using humanity's survival through the 'miserable, brutish and short' phase as a role model for current healthcare standards...'

    Alright, stop showing off, just because you can afford BUPA there's no need to rub it in.

  35. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    I don't understand...

    "As for having CO2 bottles in computer rooms, they might ban them soon due to global warming."

    Surely a computer on fire is warming up the globe? Won't putting it out make things better?

    Trivia fcat for today: from what I remember, the main compnent of powder extinguishers is good old baking soda - it soaks up the free radicals in the fire, so it goes out.

  36. Mr Larrington


    "Do you mind if I smoke?" asked Lady Phillipa, plucking an immense Meerschaum pipe and pouch from her crocodile handbag.

    "Not if y'don't mind my wife throwing up." grunted Henry. Nonetheless, her ladyship stuffed the bowl with a nauseous rum-soaked shag called Périque, and lit up. Henry was half-cut and being important.

    From Vivian Sanshall's sublime "Sir Henry At Rawlinson End", which DJ Random kindly played me on the way to work this morning.

  37. JC

    @ Antismoking Whiners

    The action against the girl should be considered assault and the homeowner arrested and removed.

    In case you don't know how to get along with others, here's a simple reminder. When someone in your home is doing something you find unacceptible, you ask them to leave. If they refuse, you insist they leave. Next step is not assault, it's calling the police to have them forcibly removed.

    If I were there instead of that woman and someone where spraying chemicals all over me, better to not take the chance of it being 100% harmless and instead immediately put a stop to it. Forcibly. That's how it works, how violence starts when someone does a trivial thing and the other person escalates the problem and the first responds in turn and so on until it's a full out knock down drag out fight.

    You are not god in your home, an assault is an assult there as well as anywhere else. Tell that smoker or drinker or whatever other minor thing they're doing, to just leave then if they will not your only sane move is to stop pressing the issue and have the coppers do what they're paid for.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Baking soda

    Decomposes on heating into carbon dioxide and sodium hydroxide

    (NaHCO3 => Co2 + NaOH)

    which is why self raising flour rises when baked, and why if you put too much in, it tastes bad.

    It also has a mechanical effect of disrupting the structure of flames, and a smothering effect (because it doesn't thermally degrade instantly).

  39. Keith Oborn

    I had a mate-

    Who routinely did this with CO2 extinguishers - they advantage is you can give the smoker a short sharp, targetted squirt. Doesn't so much extinguish the fag, more blows it out of the smoker's mouth. And freezes his face for a few seconds into the bargain. No permanent damage, no cleaning, and one extinguisher gives you hundreds of shots.

  40. david
    Thumb Down


    that dry extinguisher agent is a superfine powder that looks like fluid when you collect a bunch in a jar.

    it's so fine it gets in your lungs, and stays.. oxygen can't get past it, and you drown, without a drop of water nearby.

    guy's an asshat for that.

    classic militant over-response too.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Baking Soda

    sodium hydrogen carbonate doesn't decompose to caustic soda (NaOH), if it did cakes wouldn't rise they'd hydrolyse into glop!

    it decomposes to sodium carbonate, water and carbon dioxide according to the following equation

    2NaHCO3 ==> Na2CO3 + H2O + CO2

    BTW sodium carbonate doesn't taste great either, but at least it's neutral pH rather than 14.

  42. Marius Poenar

    Smoking inside

    I've been smoking for more than 10 years, with a brief 2 year stint a few years ago - and i still believe the guy was right in using the extinguisher.

    After not smoking for 2 years, i discovered that non-smokers actually don't lie when saying that the smell bothers them. Even when entering an apartment where a smoker lived, it smells very bad for a non-smoker.

    So as a default, i never smoke inside, anywhere. If i need to smoke, i go outside, or at least open the window and smoke there - and that's in my own home. I never smoke in other people's cars or houses, if they are non-smokers, even if they tell me it's ok.

    So, i'd say the girlfriend was really a**-hole-ish for smoking in someone else's house, especially after being told not to.

  43. Alan Brown Silver badge
    Jobs Horns

    Nice thought, pity about the powder...

    I've hosed smokers down with CO2 extinguishers on a few occasions. It's quite effective, but be aware that if they're caught unawares they may need new underwear.

    WRT BCP, I asked the local coppers about the legality of using it on tresspassers and they didn't have an issue with it at all - although one commented it'd probably be more effective to clock whoever wouldn't get off the doorstep with the unit, rather than hosing them down.

    The mercedes comment is evil and well justified, but I thought firefighters had the power to move a vehicle blocking access to sites and fire plugs using whatever means possible. Wouldn't it have been easier to just shunt it aside with the tender? (and THEN empty BCP inside it on the pretext that you were preventing anything catching fire after being shunted..)

    Yes, I really dislike smokers who insist on doing it when asked not to - something to do with being fairly allergic to some of the chemicals in a lot of tailor-made cigarettes. It's no fun not being able to breathe.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fire fighters and blocked hydrants.

    in regards to the mercedes...

    why the hell didn't you fellows just get behind it with the truck and shove it up the road?

    they do that here in the states... if you're in the fire lane, they just shove your car out of the way with the front of the truck, and you're liable for all damage, to your car, the truck, other cars, buidlings, etc.

    fire trucks have more than enough oomph to move it, it's really impressive to watch.

    and if they can't get in behind the car blocking the hydrant to get it out of the way, i hear they'll either smash the windows out or just park on top of it, depending on the truck they have.

This topic is closed for new posts.