My neighbor in College Point had a back yard with one enormous tree; about thirty percent of the open space was devoted to his well-manicured roses. He loved to barbeque too, he was a fireman, and it is well documented that many men become firemen because they are very fond of fire.
There was a nice little collection of home-made Adirondack chairs, and a home-made Knock Hockey set up too, for us boys. Watching him start the barbeque was a thrill, and anyone who once witnessed the ceremony will never forget it. He would make a big pyramid of coals in a standard metal barbeque and douse it with a huge volume of ordinary gasoline. He would then warn everyone to keep a “safe” distance, he did this in the theatrical style of a stage illusionist. Once he had everyone’s attention, he would take three or four stick matches, strike them, and throw them about five feet into the barbeque, all in one graceful motion. The resulting ignition sounded like a space shuttle lift off and created a column of fire about ten feet tall.
I am not aware of any injuries that may have resulted from these displays, although the environmental impact must have been considerable. Those were simpler times!