Fire in Space

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Fire in Space
"Fire in Space"
An episode of the Original Series
Episode No. Season 1, Episode 12
Writer(s) Jim Carlson
Terrence McDonnell
Story by Michael Sloan
Director Christian I. Nyby II
Assistant Director
Special guest(s)
Production No. 50917
Nielsen Rating
US airdate USA 1978-12-17
CAN airdate CAN {{{CAN airdate}}}
UK airdate UK
DVD release 2004-12-28
Population survivors
Additional Info
Episode Chronology
Previous Next
The Living Legend, Part II Fire in Space War of the Gods, Part I
[[IMDB:tt{{{imdb}}}|IMDb entry]]
Listing of props for this episode
Related Media
Photo Gallery @ BW Media
Promotional Materials
Online Purchasing
Amazon: Standard Definition | High Definition
iTunes: [{{{itunes}}} USA]

After Cylon Raiders ram Galactica on destructive suicide missions, the crew scrambles to fight a raging fire threatening to incinerate the ship.


  • Lieutenant Boomer enters Galactica's rejuvenation center to relax and unwind with Athena and Boxey, who are playing compartment bulyarks (a shuffleboard-type game) that Boxey is winning; Boomer is on furlon from duty for the next 24 centars.
  • Boxey tells Boomer that he has trained Muffit to "sniff" out mushies.
  • Suddenly, a loud siren begins to blare, and red alarm lights flash throughout the ship. On the bridge, Colonel Tigh informs Commander Adama of incoming Cylon forces, possibly from a basestar they encountered 10 centars ago. Blue Squadron is launched.
  • As Tigh and Adama study the scanner, they come to realize that they face a major attack rather than a mere combat probe. All squadrons are launched, and Galactica's compartments are sealed to protect against hull breaches.
  • The Vipers engage a huge number of Cylon Raiders, which are not fighting back. The Vipers are destroying Raiders at will in numerous quantities, but two Raiders slip through the rain of Viper fire.
  • One Raider heads toward Galactica's bridge, which closes its protective shield in defense. Apollo and Sheba close in and appear to destroy the Raider with laser fire. However, the destruction of the Raider occurs too close to the bridge, which suffers heavy damage, suffering explosions, fallen girders, and shattered glass.
  • Adama, nearly unconscious, lies motionless on the floor of the bridge. Tigh finds him and orders Omega to bring Dr. Salik immediately.
Maren Jensen during the filming of Fire In Space.
  • Starbuck tries but fails to destroy the other suicidal Raider. It successfully rams Galactica's port landing bay, causing massive explosions and damage throughout the ship, including the rejuvenation center.
  • Boomer extinguishes a small fire and then attempts to restore communications, while Athena and Boxey tend to the wounded.
  • Tigh believes the Cylon fighters were packed with solonite or a similar explosive. Boroton is used to extinguish the fire on the bridge, but they have lost "deep scan" and internal communications. They decide to use the Viper pilots as their "scanners," so they begin rotating squadrons to maintain a constant patrol.
  • The damage report is grim: not only was energizer #1 destroyed, but so was the boroton mist control center (the main firefighting system aboard Galactica). Also, fires rage out of control on numerous decks throughout their crippled vessel.
  • Smoke begins pouring into the rejuvenation center from the damaged doorway, but the lifemasks were destroyed in the initial impact. The stranded occupants move to the "safe" side of the room, while Boomer begins trying to hotwire the door to the storage compartment.
  • Apollo visits a gravely injured Adama, who needs an emergency medical procedure that is quite risky, given Galactica's fragile state.
  • After several attempts, Boomer finally succeeds in opening the door. The trapped crew members crowd safely through the door to (temporary) safety. Boomer dives through the hatchway just as the outer door succumbs to the raging fire outside.
  • Apollo studies Galactica's schematics to find a way to reach his stranded sister and son. A small duct (part of the ship's intricate ventilation system) connects the bridge to the rest of the ship, including the rejuvenation center, but the accessway is too small for a person to negotiate.
  • Tigh's first and foremost priority is putting out the fire threatening the ship. Apollo suggests firing boroton into the launch bay from a modified version of a Viper laser turret, while the fireleader thinks of a new way to use the megapressure pumps in conjunction with the firefighting equipment.
  • Boomer, who has found their end of the small access way, affixes a help note to Muffit. Boxey order the mechanized daggit into the tunnel to seek help.
  • As they activate the megapressure pump connected to the boroton firefighting system, Apollo, Starbuck, and finally Sheba fire their boroton loads into the landing bay, extinguishing the flames. However, the megapressure pump blows a seal and fails, reigniting the flames in the landing bay.
  • As the inferno nears energizer #2, causing a momentary loss of power in sickbay, Adama is prepped for emergency surgery. He suggests Tigh put out the fire by blowing portions of the hull, employing the vacuum of space.
  • Apollo and Starbuck don EVA suits and begin spacewalking (with tether lines), planting explosive devices at various points along the hull. Apollo remembers Boxey's "mushies" trick, and suggests to Tigh to put mushies near the open duct, which he does.
  • As the temperature climbs to critical in the energizer and solium compartments, Muffit emerges unexpectedly onto the bridge from the ventilation duct. They attach lifemasks and a note from Tigh onto his collar and send him back to their stranded crewmates, who are sharing scant few lifemasks amid deteriorating conditions.
  • A handhold on the hull used by Starbuck breaks away, but Apollo reacts quickly to catch him.
  • Dr. Salik undertakes the critical procedure on Adama, as the energizer temperature exceeds critical.
  • While making the hazardous journey back to the storage compartment, Muffit sees a fallen firefighter in the corridor below. However, he continues with his mission, delivering the lifemasks and Tigh's note.
  • As Boomer and Athena prepare for the hull to be blown, Muffit dashes back into the duct, disappearing down the tunnel. Boxey dives in after him but is retrieved by Boomer.
  • Apollo loses his grip and floats, adrift in space. Starbuck leaps toward him, the momentum carrying them to safety as the hull charges detonate, extinguishing the blaze once and for all.
  • Adama, after a successful surgery, is awake and recovering in sickbay. Muffit, presumed dead, is suddenly brought in on a stretcher, badly burnt but still functional. The daggit had returned to save the life of the fallen firefighter. They promise Boxey that Dr. Wilker will fix up Muffit to be as good as new.


Behind The Scenes

From Script-to-Screen

  • The original threat during Apollo and Starbuck planting of explosives would be because of a follow-up, second kamikaze attempt by the Cylons. As described by Terrence McDonnell, "One of them is getting through. So on the hull not only are they trying to plant the charges, they're dodging laser fire, they're watching everything go on and one Cylon comes through and is coming right at them. They have to time the explosion and get out of the way, so when this explosion goes off, it completely incinerates the Cylon."

    Noted by McDonnell as a "typical example" of ABC's interference, they demanded that this scene be re-written because it was deemed repetitive, given that the episode opened up with a kamikaze attempt that began the entire story. Both he and writing partner Jim Carlson fought to keep the story as is for three weeks, before losing that battle and re-writing the scene so that the major drama is Starbuck losing his grip on a rung outside of Galactica's hull to tumble slowly into space before Apollo launches himself into space to push Starbuck further away from the timed explosion on Galactica's hull.[1]
  • An additional re-scene for the last act (or "tag") of the episode was "completely deleted." According to McDonnell, "And then the tag—if you remember the stupid tag—they've got Adama in bed and they've got the singed daggit laying next to him. I burst out laughing in the screening room when I saw that on screen. What happened in our episode was at the very, very end of the episode, before that tag, Apollo doesn't know if Boxey is dead or not. He thinks he's dead, so that tag is this warm reunion for everybody and it brings the whole thing together."[1]
  • Following principle photography for the episode, the "wild lines" of dialogue spoken by Galactica's firefighters were written separately by Jim Carlson and Terrence McDonnell, as the scenes depicting the firefighters' efforts were filmed without sound. These "wild lines" were later dubbed over the footage during post-production.[1]


The Rejuvenation Center

  • In the rejuvenation center, crew members are briefly seen playing a board game resembling a combination of chess and checkers. Instead of being a two-player game, though, there are four players, each sitting at an edge of the playing board.
  • Other rejuvenation center games include Colonial variations of billiards (without cue sticks), table tennis and shuffleboard.
  • Boomer and Boxey agree to play a game called "compartment bulyarks" but are interrupted by the attack.
  • Unlike the Officer's Club, the rejuvenation center is open to everyone aboard Galactica, from flight officers to crewmen; even civilians, children, and daggits appear welcome. Presumably (although not explicitly mentioned), people on vessels other than Galactica may reserve time in the rejuvenation center (after a short shuttle hop to the battlestar).


  • The schematics of Galactica were very deficient, devoid of any markings or labeling; the naming schemas used for decks, sections, compartments, etc., appear to be little more than hastily-assembled dialogue sound bites.
  • "The Long Patrol" Berkely novelization rehashes elements from "Fire In Space," including a Cylon kamikaze attack on Galactica and civilians trapped in a lounge.


  • Battlestar Galactica meets classic 1970's-style disaster movie. If all the "action" caused by dealing with the fire mentioned in the title were removed, very little would be left in the way of story or character development. Despite the Cylon attack at the beginning of the episode, the real enemy is the fire. This episode marks a point in the series when the Cylons disappear for the rest of the season, until their appearance in the final episode. Perhaps this is because the Cylons didn't represent a credible threat to the Fleet after the Colonials overcame overwhelming odds so many times, or maybe Glen Larson and company were trying to take the show in a different direction.
  • This episode does give a few of the secondary characters a moment to shine. Colonel Tigh gets to take command for the first time since the Battle of Kobol in "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part II". Boomer demonstrates that he picked up some unusual skills in his misspent youth, establishing some basis for the electronics expertise that he demonstrates in "The Hand of God". Muffit gets to save the day, not only through his nose for mushies, but also in saving the firefighter.
  • This is something of a standalone episode, in that no subsequent episodes make note of any consequences from the damage to Galactica or Adama. The only element that constrains this episode is the presence of Sheba, which requires this episode to be shown after "The Living Legend, Part II". Otherwise it might have aired in almost any available slot.
  • In most disaster situations, when chaos is reigning, initial reports are very terse, with extremely limited and fragmented information. Despite this, Omega seems to have accurate information on the whereabouts of Boxey, Boomer, and Athena.
    • In sickbay, a crewman tells Cassiopeia that he saw Boomer, Athena and Boxey "go in there [the rejuvenation center] right before the attack". But how is this possible, as they didn't enter together at the same time? When Boomer is first seen entering the room, Athena and Boxey are already comfortably camped out playing the shuffleboard game (which Boxey is winning, as they make a point of mentioning). It is possible that the crewman can't remember correctly because his eyes are constantly being diverting down to Cassiopeia's figure; he can't quit glancing down at it, even while being led away.
  • Interestingly, the storage room seems to be about half as big as the rejuvenation center itself. It even has its own phone.
  • Equipping the Vipers with boraton pumps sounds like a feasible plan in the long run, but it also sounds like something that couldn't be done at the snap of the fingers, given that the equipment comes from two totally separate systems (military attack craft, firefighting equipment).
  • The fire is a plot point mirrored in the re-imagined Miniseries. Here the crew of Galactica deal with the fire by decompressing the area where the fire is spreading after a hit with a nuclear warhead. With oxygen depleted, the fire is effectively removed as a threat. In the Original Series however, Adama's comments about having the fire "smothered" by the vacuum of space is a sound approach, however the approach itself is not, as Galactica should be able to open the airlocks to space in the affected sections and killed the fire that way, without blowing a hole in the hull.
  • This is Terry Carter's best episode, since Colonel Tigh is thrust into the forefront, taking command of Galactica while Adama is incapacitated. Carter does a tremendous job, and his strong performance helps save this cliched, overused story plot from losing steam.
  • Athena gets more screen time here than in most episodes. Unfortunately, like most Galactican women, she is totally helpless and must rely on Boomer to get her and everyone else through the disaster.
  • Muffit becomes a hero in this episode. It's quite an improvement; in most of the episodes he appears in, he has absolutely no bearing on the plot and has nothing to do except waddle around and look cute.
  • Boomer states he used to steal hovermobiles in his childhood. It seems to be in pretty bad taste to give one of the two main black characters on the series a delinquent past.
  • A tremendous amount of damage is done to Galactica (especially the landing bay), yet there is no sign of this in any future episodes nor any explanation of how the repairs went. Considering the abysmal plot, this episode was probably best left forgotten.


  • Since Galactica was on the verge of destruction by the time Starbuck and Apollo were planting charges on the hull, didn't it ever occur to Colonel Tigh to evacuate all non-essential personnel including the Colonial vipers so that, if Galactica was destroyed, the fleet would at least have a fighting chance to survive? And since it was too dangerous to operate on Adama on Galactica, didn't it ever occur to Dr. Salik to shuttle Adama to another ship in the fleet and perform the operation there?
  • How long did it take to repair the damage? Wouldn't the damage be noticeable and have a bearing on the events of future episodes?
  • If the attack destroyed internal communication, how does Omega know so quickly (within centons) that Boomer, Athena and Boxey are stranded in the rejuvenation center?
  • Why is the storage compartment of the rejuvenation center so large and accommodating?
  • How do the technical crews so quickly adapt the boroton pressure pumps to the Vipers' laser turrets?
  • After activating the device interfacing the megapressure pump system with the boroton firefighting system, why do the engineers walk away from the device, leaving it completely unattended?
  • If Tigh ordered Omega to "have some mushies sent up" to the bridge, then why is he seen fetching them himself soon thereafter? Wouldn't it make more sense to have someone from the mess hall bring it to the bridge, rather than have the acting commander of the fleet go to the kitchen to perform a delivery himself?
  • Given the length of Galactica and seeing as the rejuvenation center is in the middle of the ship, how is Muffit able to find the mushies at the bridge by smell? Would it have be easier to find a vent opening in an area closest to the rejuvenation center that is not threatened by the fire?
  • Why aren't Colonial spacesuits equipped with boots that can be magnetized?
  • Why blow the hull? Doesn't Galactica have airlocks?
  • Furthermore, in the event of a hull breach, wouldn't the duct system (so aptly used by Muffit) be compromised and thus drain compartments of air this way?
  • With Galactica having multiple decks, and with a duct system that may very likely have vertical ducts as well as horizontal ones, how is Muffit able to navigate them?
  • Why don't the two Basestars that you see on the scanner attack?
  • Where are the other ships in the Fleet during all this? Why don't they send people over to help?

Noteworthy Dialogue

  • Starbuck noting that, despite being outnumbered, the Vipers are winning the battle:
Starbuck: They're not fighting back. What are they up to?
  • Adama suggests a plan to deal with the loss of the scanners:
Adama: The Vipers will be our eyes.
  • Boomer on his past:
Boomer: It doesn't show in my file, Athena, but when I was a kid on Caprica, I hot-linked more hover-mobiles than there are doors on this ship.
  • After Boomer jumps through the door into the storage room:
Boomer: Boxey, it looks like I mashed your mushies.
  • Tigh tells Apollo how grave the results of the fire could be to Galactica:
Tigh: Apollo, if the fire reaches the energizer or the solium, either one... Galactica is doomed.
  • Adama suggests a plan to deal with the fire:
Adama: Let the vacuum of space smother it.
  • Tigh giving an order:
Tigh: Omega, order some mushies sent up here.

Deleted Scenes

See: The deleted scenes from this episode.

Official Statements

I remember with Lorne the first time we were introduced to him we were down on the "Fire in Space" set the day they were doing all the stunts and somebody said, "Have you met Lorne?" Jim [Carlson] and I said, "No." So they walked us over to him and he was very nice and tall. So, he looks at us after we're introduced and there was a lull onstage, they were resetting for something, and he says, "You don't have to give me every line, but what I do has to be imporrrrrtant." And it was this long dragged-out "impporrrrrtant." Every time we'd go down on set, which wasn't that often, and we saw Lorne sort of coming our direction, we'd get out of there. Just because we didn't want to get sucked into we're not giving him important lines.[2]
  • McDonnell recalls the stunt scenes being filmed for this episode:
I remember all the actors and the crew were in a big semi-circle around the bridge when the big explosions would take place. They'd have stunt guys in costumes over here where the starfield was shown on the screen, and they had little tiny trampolines in place. So at a given moment, when "Action!" was called, the guys would hit those trampolines and go flying over everything and they would drop plastic stuff from the ceiling, so it looked like it was debris from the bridge. Then there would be this big round of applause from everybody, and then they would go do it again. There was also a big map on the other side of the bridge that was all wired in the back and that would shatter as well, so there were all these cool things. When they were out in the hull, that was a projection. They just had a couple of boxes on a huge empty stage and they'd have a projection in the camera of the hull. They had, I think it was Dirk [Benedict] and Richard [Hatch], wired like they'd go flying. I remember they were going out of control and just spinning, because they had to get the hang of all of that.[1]
  • McDonnell discusses his reaction to the Viper boraton strafing runs:
It was when they fired the boraton towards the camera from the Vipers I thought the effect was really lame. It looked like a bad... It wasn't even smooth like a cartoon it was like somebody had put two or three slides together relatively quickly. I just thought it was sloppy.[1]
  • McDonnell on Starbuck's concern regarding "tumbling the gyros" in a controlled explosion:
Well, first of all, we had to do two things. One of them was that we had to toss up the question the audience might have: "Why don't they just blow up what they have?" We needed to take a little bit more time so we gave that answer. The other thing is—in our heads anyway—if the gyros start tumbling, who knows what that would cause on the ship? If it just goes spinning out of control, do people go flying around? How do they get them to—"calm down" is the wrong word but you know—settle down. We just didn't even want to go into that.[1]

Guest Stars

External Links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Egnor, Mike (17 September 2009). Terrence McDonnell GALACTICA.TV interview (backup available on (in ). Retrieved on 12 June 2019.
  2. Altman, Mark A.; Gross, Edward (2018). So Say We All: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Battlestar Galactica. Tor Books. ISBN 9781250128942, p. 58.