In "Fahrenheit 451" instead of water, what does the fire hose spray?

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In the topsy-turvy world of Fahrenheit 451, where firemen start fires instead of putting them out, kerosene comes out of fire-hoses instead of water. As a colorless liquid, kerosene is an ideal symbol for the emotionless, matter-of-fact way that the firemen go about their business. It's also hard to wash off. This represents the difficulty that Montag will have in completely erasing his identity as a state functionary. It's almost as if kerosene has entered his soul, his very being.

Kerosene's indelible properties also suggest the huge challenge that Montag, Faber, and other dissidents face in overthrowing this totalitarian regime. For even if they do manage to succeed in their rebellion, the lasting effects of the regime's tyranny will, like the smell of kerosene, linger on for quite some time.

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Kerosene.  The firemen need an accelerant to spread the fire, so they hose kerosene all over the house, then light a match.  The second sentence of the book states of the firehose that it is a "great python spitting its venomous kerosene".  And, kerosene really smells; Clarisse knew Montag was coming down the street even before she saw him because the smell on Montag is so strong.  Montag says, "you never wash it off completely," in acknowledgment that that smell of kerosene always stays on him, no matter what he does.

I hope that helps!

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