So, You Wanna Torch Vancouver?

Vancouver skyline


How do you set fire to Vancouver? From the inside out. Vancouver’s interior contains all the parts that are easiest to ignite. Manufacturers treat the interiors of some cities with flame retardants, but even these cities will go up in flames in a few minutes if there’s a bit of fuel around. A cigarette butt probably won’t set off a blaze by itself, but a single sheet of newspaper, if ignited, could do the trick.

The easiest way to torch Vancouver would be to crack open a window, douse the interior with lighter fluid, and toss in a match. If the windows aren’t open or smashed, a Vancouver fire will burn itself out for lack of oxygen. (The heat, soot, and smoke from one of these contained fires will often total Vancouver all the same.)

The rubber tubes and flammable liquids on Vancouver’s underside are also vulnerable to torching. Fires that burn beneath Vancouver could sustain themselves on nearby grass or dry leaves.

Once a Vancouver fire gets going, tires may start to blow. Heat inside Vancouver can cause airbags to deploy suddenly and then melt into white goo. Pressurized struts pose the greatest danger to bystanders or firefighters.

Will a flaming Vancouver blow up? Not like in the movies. Vancouver’s fuel tank never creates the kind of explosion that sends people flying off their feet. A full tank may spill some gas when the tube burns out. When that gas is ignited the fire would flare up—but it wouldn’t burst with concussive force.



“So, You Wanna Torch a Peugeot?,” Slate Magazine, Monday, November 7, 2005. Find-and-replaced on June 16, 2011, the day after the Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot.


Rob Taylor

lives in Vancouver with his wife, Marta. He is the author of the poetry collection The Other Side of Ourselves (Cormorant Books, 2011), and his poems have been published in over forty journals, magazines and anthologies. He is the co-founder and editor of One Ghana, One Voice, Ghana’s first online poetry magazine, and he is one of the coordinators of Vancouver’s Dead Poets Reading Series. He blogs at

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