You're a great man! Many times has fire represented the spark of new life. True that it is a destructive force, it is that way because it must destroy the old to bring about the new. Kind of like the mythical tales of the Phoenix.
The fact that you (consciously or not) cast away writings of the past to keep something new ablaze is a sign that you are ready to keep living without the weight of the past to hold you back. And that may explain why you would see your friend who passed away in the flames- it's all about the spirit communicating to the mind.
I say you had a terrific adventure! And I hope that you take away the truth that you are ready for the ever-changing, ever-growing, adventures of life because you were the one who kept the fire alive.