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Match in a Bomb Shack

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Mack: ...did two fire dudes just drop into a warehouse full of fireworks?
Coulson: You had to see that coming.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., discussing Ghost Rider and JT James/Hellfire

Fire and explosives don't mix. Even the smallest flame can cause a room full of bombs to detonate in a matter of seconds. As such, when a character uses a flame in one of these rooms, expect that room to be blown to bits... with them in it.

Sometimes, they may do it without realizing where they are. Upon lighting a flame, expect them to realize how much trouble they are in. However, there are also plenty of moments where a character will light a flame knowing exactly where they are, either to deal with something else that is also inside or Explosive Stupidity. Entering a place filled with explosives while carrying a torch, candle, or lit match can also happen. Can also happen (intentionally or unintentionally) with a lit cigarette/cigar.

Some of the more sadistic characters might even just throw a flame into such a place when others are inside. They may or may not receive comeuppance for it later.


This is more often than not a Comedy Trope. Subtrope to Matchlight Danger Revelation. Compare Dynamite Candle, when the person uses an explosive as a candle without realizing (which doesn't necessarily need to occur in a room full of explosives, but can).


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    Comic Books 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • During the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 episode where Ghost Rider and Hellfire, both of whom are powerful fire-wielders, face off, the two of them fall into a fireworks warehouse during their fight, with Ghost Rider in full Flaming Skull mode, prompting a This Is Gonna Suck moment from Agents Mack and Coulson, who know just what is about to happen.
    Mack: ...did two fire dudes just drop into a warehouse full of fireworks?
    Coulson: You had to see that coming.

  • Referenced in the song "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler:
    "We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks!"

    Video Games 
  • The first Broken Sword game has a slight variation in the climax. The stack of gunpowder in the castle it takes place is old and damp, so throwing a torch is nowhere near enough to make it explode. However, it's perfect for setting off the purse full of detonator-less C4 an Anti-Villain bequeathed you just before.
  • In Deponia Doomsday, one puzzle results in the normally sane and composed Toni getting so frustrated that she lights a cigarette while sitting in a fully-stocked explosives shop, blowing the whole place up.
  • Henry Stickmin Series: In the remastered version of "Breaking the Bank", Henry digs straight down when using the shovel until he hits something. Using a lighter to see what he hit (a gas pipe), he ends up getting blown up while in the hole.
    Fail: Never dig straight down.
  • This can be invoked in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games, specifically Oracle of Seasons. After beating the Moblin king, he holes up in a shack, having his minions build a new supply of bombs. If you want, you can light his stack on fire and blow up the building. You can do this a few times, after which trying will get you caught and thrown in the building as it explodes, leading to a Non Standard Game Over.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: While hunting for twilight bugs in Kakariko Village, one of the places to look is in a bomb shack. However, upon entering, there are no bugs to be found. Upon bringing a flaming stick into the shack and lighting a fireplace, the bugs jump out, having been set aflame by the stick, and lighting all of the explosives. Upon this happening, Midna is quick to leave. Staying inside the shack when it explodes results in a Non Standard Game Over. Exiting results in the bugs being killed and their tears of light available to be collected, but the shack is destroyed, forcing Barnes the owner into having to start fresh with bomb making.
    • Later subverted, where bringing out a lantern or other open flame in Barnes' restored shop immediately triggers the ceiling sprinklers and a warning from Barnes.
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story: In Bowser's Castle, Bowser winds up lighting himself on fire when running on a treadmill to burn off all the extra weight he put on. He finds the dark room he's doing so in to be the castle's Bob-omb storage depot, accidentally lighting one using his burning body that causes the rest to explode, sending Bowser flying all the way to the other side of the Mushroom Kingdom.
  • Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge: When Guybrush and Wally are escaping Lechuck's lair in act 3, they end up in a dark room, and Guybrush is forced to light a match to see where they are. Naturally, they're in a warehouse full of gunpower, and naturally Guybrush drops the match when it burns his fingers. The whole thing goes up in a massive explosion, destroying the fortress and conveniently catapulting Guybrush to the location of the final act.

    Western Animation 
  • In Aladdin: The Series episode "The Vapor Chase", Aladdin and the others are hiding from a smoke creature called Sootinai in a dark building. While Genie's trying to light his thumb like a lighter, Iago comments there's a funny smell. When Genie gets his thumb lit, the heroes discover they're in a building filled with barrels of lamp oil.
    All: LAMP OIL?!
    (Genie quickly shoves his lit thumb in his mouth)
    Aladdin: One spark and this place will blow
    Iago: Like it's full of BARRELS OF LAMP OIL!
    Genie: Sorry.
  • A common joke in Looney Tunes is for a character to chase their target into a bomb shack, where they will light a match or lighter to look for them.
    • In "Hillbilly Hare", Bugs gets chased by two hillbillies who follow him into a dynamite shack. Unable to see a thing, Bugs loans them his lighter and quickly leaves the house before it explodes.
    • In "The Dixie Fryer", while chasing Foghorn, Elvis and his Pappy follow the rooster inside a bomb shack with a lighter in hand. Elvis reads T-N-T on one of the explosives just before the whole place blows.
    • In "Bunker Hill Bunny", Yosemite Sam attempts to infiltrate the fort Bugs Bunny is holed up in by digging a tunnel underground. When he surfaces, he finds himself in a dark room, so he lights a match, only to discover that he is in a shack full of TNT. Cue explosion.
    • In "Beep, Beep", Wile E. Coyote chase the Roadrunner inside a mine when the light on his helmet goes out. Lighting a match, he finds himself surrounded by crates of TNT. Cut to outside, where the blast causes some cacti to spell out "YIPE!"
  • Played with in the TaleSpin episode, "Bringing Down Babyface". When Babyface Half-Nelson and his mother learn that the police have found their hideout, they fill it with dynamite and set it off before leaving. When Baloo takes a pair of police officers to the hideout, one of them lights a match, only to find out that it's filled with dynamite set to explode. The dynamite explodes with the three still inside the hideout.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures, being a spin-off of Looney Tunes that focuses on the Looney Tunes' junior counterparts, naturally has a few instances of this:
    • In "That's Incredibly Stupid!" (part of "Spring in ACME Acres"), one of the challenges on the titular game show that Plucky Duck and Dizzy Devil compete on is to find a needle in a haystack. When Plucky finds out there are boxes of dynamite underneath the haystacks, he pretends to be sick to trick Dizzy into finding the needle for him. When Biff Blasday, the show's host, decides to make the event even more challenging by turning out the lights, Plucky asks him, "Well, how's he supposed to see in there? Light a crummy match?". Dizzy does so, causing the dynamite to explode. He and Plucky still win the challenge when Plucky finds the needle now lodged in Dizzy's butt.
    • In the Direct to Video movie, "How I Spent My Vacation", Buster and Babs' subplot involves the two rabbits floating downriver on an overturned picnic table during a water gun fight. On the night of the Fourth of July, the two rabbits come across the Boo Sisters, a trio of alligator bachelorettes whose father forcibly weds Buster to them. When Babs sees Buster in trouble, she needs a plan to save him. She lights a match in a dark shed, revealing boxes of fireworks inside it. However, her match doesn't set the fireworks off right away, which is a good thing, as she disguises herself as a fireworks salesman and ties the fireworks to a gazebo the Boo family is in, choosing that time to light the fireworks and send the gazebo flying away.