A combination inerting and fire extinguishing system particularly suited for employment in a pulverizing bowl mill (10) of the type that is operative for effecting the grinding of material and that includes a substantially closed separator body (16) in which a grinding table (18) is supported for rotation relative thereto and a plurality of grinding rolls (22) are also supported therewithin such that the plurality of grinding rolls (22) cooperate with the rotating grinding table (18) to effect a grinding of the material disposed upon the grinding table (18). The subject inerting and fire extinguishing means includes a continuous purging means, a backup inerting means, a pulverizing bowl mill clearing means and a water injection fire suppression means. The continuous purging means is operative during any inerting sequence to cause an inerting medium to flow continually through the pulverizing bowl mill (10) so as to ensure that there is no buildup of volatile gases therewithin. The backup inerting means is operative to provide CO.sub.2 inerting when the primary steam inerting system is either not available or for some other reason cannot be utilized. The pulverizing bowl mill clearing means is operative after the pulverizing bowl mill (b 10) has been taken off line to clear the pulverizing bowl mill (10) of its contents via a steam flow so as to render the pulverizing bowl mill (10) ready for restart. The water injection fire suppression means is operative in the event of a fire in the pulverizing bowl mill (10) to accomplish the injection thereinto of water simultaneous with a steam clearing of the interior thereof.