The deliberate killing of a sheep with a fire extinguisher : a case report and experimental reconstruction study
The morphological findings of a sheep deliberately killed with a powder fire extinguisher in an act of cruelty are described. The animal was orally insufflated with the powder of a 6 kg fire extinguisher having the working pressure of 15 bar. This led to rupture of the esophagus and rumen, followed by rupturing of the abdominal wall. Furthermore, powder was applied rectally into the large intestine and vaginally into the genital tract. For a better understanding of the lesion patterns and of the course of events, fire extinguishers were used in an experimental case reconstruction study on sheep carcasses. Rupture of the rumen and abdominal wall could only be reproduced after intraesophageal insufflation but not after oral insufflation. Therefore, an esophageal application has to be considered in the killed sheep. Esophageal rupture in sheep carcasses could not be reproduced by oral or by esophageal application of the fire extinguisher. Nevertheless, in isolated fresh ovine esophagi, compressed air of less than 1 bar was sufficient to induce tissue separation in the esophageal wall. The described case reveals parallels with findings in rarely reported accidents with or in suicides committed with chemical fire extinguishers.