When we still had Howard AFB in Panama our Intel Sergeant was tasked to burn some secret Comm codes. Every month the code books had to be destroyed. At home we used a big crusher grinder to turn them into paper powder.
Burning secrets is a two person operation. One to sign the destruction and one to witness.
We had a large BBQ area behind our operations building with a cement block BBQ that they were going to use to destroy the secrets. They piled the books up and doused them with gasoline.
Now at Howard it is typically "Hot and Humid" all year long. This day it was particularly hot and 98% humidity.
The Sergeant told his helper to "Stand way back" and tried to strike a match and throw it onto the books.
The several matches were very damp and would not light. Finally, no more than 5 minutes from dousing the books with gas, one finally sparked. Neither of them could say if the match even lit.
The spark was enough to detonate the vapors from the pile of books.
The Airman got his hair singed but the Sergeant wound up in the hospital for 3 months and is still scarred for life.
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