To be ruined; be destroyed: He just saw his beautiful scam go up in smoke(1933+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D. Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers. Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with go up in flames
go up in flames
Also,go up in smoke. Be utterly destroyed, as in This project will go up in flames if the designer quits, or All our work is going up in smoke. This idiom transfers a fire to other kinds of destruction.
[ Early 1900s