A few years ago (I think on the EG) I posted a story about Professor Heinz Wolff and the origins of the Inferno gimmick. Briefly, before Heinz knew I was a magician he told me about a device that he invented which shot a flame from the fingers. He showed it to some people in Switzerland at the time. When I mentioned the Inferno he seemed interested, but not that concerned.
Today on the BBC website there is a nice photo of Heinz. You can see it here;
Take care, Ian