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Fire in the hole

Posted by Joel on April 14, 2001

In Reply to: Fire in the hole posted by ESC on April 14, 2001

: : I've heard this phrase in many action movies, usually screamed as a warning that an explosive device was just thrown into an enclosed area. I wonder about the origin of this phrase, if it wasn't originally used as an alarm in response to the extremely dangerous situation of having an uncontrolled fire in a wooden ship's *hold*. Another theory is as an alarm to other soldiers that gunfire has erupted in a soldier's dugout (hole). Anyone know for certain?

: Nope, I don't know the origin for sure. The phrase was used in "Coal Miner's Daughter," a bio of singer Loretta Lynn, when a miner was using dynamite to blast loose coal.

It is a phrase that was used at least back into the first half of the century in the Pacific Northwest US, to announce that dynamite would very soon be set off. Usually in mining or forestry (stump-blasting) situations.