View Full Version : weaponizing a kerosene lamp

06-18-2016, 10:32 PM
Well, not really weaponizing it per se, but I have a character throwing one in front of a hostile crowd. It's more for intimidation and to create an obstacle. How much flame would that create?

It's a "hot-blast" handheld kerosene lantern and it will land on the ground. It would not self-extinguish when overturned (modern ones do) and it's thrown hard enough to break the glass. How far would the fire spread and how long would it burn? It's the dirt street of a frontier town so there's a boardwalk and wooden buildings around, the street may be muddy with puddles etc. which could make the fire pop. How likely is this to get out of control, or might it not amount to much?

06-19-2016, 01:51 AM
If the kerosene can pour out, then it will start a small fire. Likely about a foot or so across as the puddle of kerosene burns, then goes out. If there are no flammable objects, it's more an annoyance than anything. You could easily step over the resulting fire. Pretty much a waste of a lamp.

So, what do you need for the story?


King Neptune
06-20-2016, 05:57 PM
Even in a large kerosene lamp there wouldn't be more than a pint of oil, so it couldn't spread far, even if the metal tank broke open, but if it landed on wooden porch then it might start a fire.

06-20-2016, 07:09 PM
Thanks y'all. The wooden porch is a great idea, as rest of the jail can be brick. Now that I'm redoing the scene, it's more likely she just drops the lantern when the shooting starts, but it gets construed as being thrown/intentional arson due to certain period stereotypes. So now I've got a few folks vastly outnumbered by a lynch mob and now trapped by a fire - and my MC probably having a PTSD meltdown. Fun times!