The Phoenix is a medallion that protects the wearer from direct fire. It does, however, cause others nearby to die; for every life the Phoenix saves, others will be lost. Those who have ever touched the Phoenix, however, will be spared.
Its Warehouse label reads as follows:
ID= Mercur3494 STACK# PP34994881
4451 98568-87410secure UUS (Carré bleu) 445568813
Protects wearer from direct fire
Medallion takes nearby life in exchange for protection/use
Attributes: Charonic Transfer
In 1994, James MacPherson saved Carol Augustine from a fire using the Phoenix, and in turn caused the death of five firemen. Years later, MacPherson stole the medallion from Warehouse 13 and tried to sell it to the highest bidder, but Arthur Nielsen stopped the auction and reacquired the Phoenix. Artie was later saved by the medallion when MacPherson detonated the Umbilicus, but Mrs. Frederic's driver died in his place.
In "Endless Terror", Paracelsus traveled back in time and killed the Regents of Warehouse 9 thereby altering history. In this alternate time line, Paracelsus was sole authority over the Warehouse and had been Caretaker for Warehouses 9 through 13. In this alternate Warehouse, Paracelsus experimented with artifacts by testing them on people. Artie saw two scientist forcing a man to hold the Phoenix in one hand and the Doorknob from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in the other, the Doorknob creates fire and the Phoenix repels it so Paracelsus must've been curious to know what these two artifacts would do when combined.
How it Works
Someone who dies a fiery death while holding the Phoenix will be literally reborn from their own ashes. It seems that, during the interim between death and rebirth, however, the user experiences some sort of temporary afterlife: James MacPherson described this period as dark and empty, while Arthur Nielsen described his own experience as bright and hopeful. However, artifacts that bring the dead back to life always have a price: someone who hasn't touched the Phoenix will start to cough up ashes, choke, and finally die in the person's place.
It's possible that the duration a user spends in fire affects how many victims the Phoenix takes in exchange for its use, though this is unconfirmed.