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?
Subtrope of An Axe to Grind.
- 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 leads to the question of why KGBeast didn't just cut the rope.
- In Titanic (1997), Rose finds a fire ax to cut Jack out of his situation.
- James Bond:
- In The One starring Jet Li, during the final battle, Yulaw 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.
- In the Doctor Who TV movie, the Eighth Doctor and Grace find a fire axe in a fire emergency cabinet when the Master's chasing them through an observatory, but they just use it to bar the doors behind them.
- The Transporter. Frank has to fight two villains with fire axes while trapped between them in a short corridor.
- Subverted in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) when the protagonist seizes a fire-axe and in doing so sets off an alarm, alerting every pod person in the factory.
- In Bad Kids Go to Hell, there is a fire axe inside the new library. Matt smashes the glass and grabs it in an attempt to break down the doors, but Tarek says it won't work as the doors are steel-cored (raising the question of why the axe is there at all). As the situation gets worse, the axe is fought over by various characters.
- Lana managed to find a fire ax in Smallville once. And inside Smallville High School no less.
- 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.
- In the Supernatural episode "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" (S09, Ep01), an angel uses a fire axe behind glass to break down a hospital room door.
- In Person of Interest, different characters use this in different simulations, Team Machine is trying to escape from the stock exchange after Samaritan turned it into a trap. Though they don't actually use it as a weapon, instead using it to cut a lock that is preventing the elevator from working.
- Played for Drama, and later Played for Laughs, in Agents Of Shield: when Phil Coulson grabs one of the terrigenesis crystals, his hand begins turning to stone (because that's what happens when non-Inhumans touch a crystal). To prevent him from being completely turned, Mack chops off his hand with a nearby fire ax. The ax can be seen on the wall of Coulson's office in later episodes, and the event first spawns Mack's infatuation with the idea of a shotgun-ax hybrid.
- 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. The in-universe explanation is that they were found and moved around by scavengers ("prospectors" is the lighter term).
- The named Fire Axe "Knock Knock" is only found in the fire station of Camp Searchlight, the only fire station in-game... after you fight a giant radscoprion the size of a firetruck.
- 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."
- In Silent Hill, Harry finds a new melee weapon in each section of town, barring the resort district. The hospital level holds the almighty Emergency Hammer. What's great about this "hammer" — what makes it an anomaly from the later games — is that it's found in the Otherworld. So the blood-red hammer is chipped and rusted, and it has a giant, chrome horn at the end. Perfect for sodomizing demons, and indeed, there's little reason to use anything else, so keep it equipped from here on out! This is one of few times when a SH protagonist can use Otherworld artifacts in the Fog World.
- A fire ax can be used in the first Kuala Lumpur level from Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, either as part of the fireman disguise in order to avoid the metal detector or as a weapon.
- While Axe Cop did find his axe "at the scene of a fire", it was just lying on the ground unattended.
- 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".
- 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.
- In the Total Drama Island premiere episode, Duncan uses a fire axe to dispatch a cockroach that has "cornered" Lindsay in the Gophers' cabin.
- While no axe appears the trope's spirit is mocked by one Treehouse of Horror episode in The Simpsons. The Manor has a Baseball Bat in a Glass Case within easy reach marked OPEN IN CASE OF SPOUSAL INSANITY.
- Merchant mariners have been known to use fire axes aboard ship as weapons, either due to a dispute or in preparation for pirate attacks.
- A few of the boys from Murder Inc. back in the 30's and 40's were known for doing their kills this way. It saved you from the need to carry a gun and as said above, almost every public building had a fire axe.