One of this blog’s most popular posts ever is Cigarettes + gasoline = explosion?
[F]orensic fire experts at the ATF’s research laboratory have found that it’s almost impossible to set something, or somebody, ablaze with a lit cigarette, even when they’ve been doused in gasoline. Richard Tontarski investigated one of Hollywood’s favorite cliches and – surprise – found it wanting.
“[H]e and colleagues experimented. They dropped burning cigarettes into trays of petrol. They sprayed a fine mist of petrol at a lighted cigarette. They even used a vacuum device to produce the higher temperature (900-950C) of a cigarette being sucked. In more than 2,000 attempts the petrol did not ignite.”
This is the stuff we thriller writers need to know. It not only puts me at ease about playing with gasoline, but helps me get things right when planning my next fireball.
It seems that thousands and thousands of people are interested in this. I hope it’s because they want movies to be scientifically accurate and juries to know when a defendant is lying. In any case, here’s an update — and a warning: cigarettes and enclosed spaces drenched in rubbing alcohol do not mix.
[S]omeone had told Kemery that saturating bed bugs in alcohol would prove fatal to them.
It is just unfortunate that no one told him alcohol was flammable.
So Kemery soaked the bugs in alcohol.
Then he lit a cigarette.
Then the car exploded.