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Airway fires are an uncommon but real and devastating complication of tracheostomy. One such fire in a 31-year-old man is described. Surgical fires are discussed, and 15 reported cases of tracheostomy fire are reviewed. A tracheostomy protocol, adopted by our department and designed to avoid this life-threatening complication, is described. Surgeons and anaesthetists involved in tracheostomy must understand the fire hazard and how to avoid it.