Sheeesh, as if I didn’t have enough to worry about…..

‘First Irish case’ of death by spontaneous combustion – A man who burned to death in his home died as a result of spontaneous combustion, an Irish coroner has ruled.

(BBC News) West Galway coroner Dr Ciaran McLoughlin said it was the first time in 25 years of investigating deaths that he had recorded such a verdict. Michael Faherty, 76, died at his home in Galway on 22 December 2010. Deaths attributed by some to “spontaneous combustion” occur when a living human body is burned without an apparent external source of ignition. Typically police or fire investigators find burned corpses but no burned furniture.

An inquest in Galway on Thursday heard how investigators had been baffled as to the cause of Mr Faherty’s death at his home at Clareview Park, Ballybane. Forensic experts found that a fire in the fireplace of the sitting room where the badly burnt body was found, had not been the cause of the blaze that killed Mr Faherty.

The court was told that no trace of an accelerant had been found and there had been nothing to suggest foul play. The court heard Mr Faherty had been found lying on his back with his head closest to an open fireplace. The fire had been confined to the sitting room. The only damage was to the body, which was totally burnt, the ceiling above him and the floor underneath him.

Dr McLoughlin said he had consulted medical textbooks and carried out other research in an attempt to find an explanation. He said Professor Bernard Knight, in his book on forensic pathology, had written about spontaneous combustion and noted that such reported cases were almost always near an open fireplace or chimney but never a closed flame ethanol burning fireplace. “This fire was thoroughly investigated and I’m left with the conclusion that this fits into the category of spontaneous human combustion, for which there is no adequate explanation,” he said.

‘Sharp intake of breath’ – Retired professor of pathology Mike Green said he had examined one suspected case in his career. He said he would not use the term spontaneous combustion, as there had to be some source of ignition, possibly a lit match or cigarette.

“There is a source of ignition somewhere, but because the body is so badly destroyed the source can’t be found,” he said. He said the circumstances in the Galway case were very similar to other possible cases.   “This is the picture which is described time and time again,” he said. “Even the most experienced rescue worker or forensic scientist takes a sharp intake of breath (when they come across the scene).”

Mr Green said he doubted explanations centred on divine intervention.

“I think if the heavens were striking in cases of spontaneous combustion then there would be a lot more cases. I go for the practical, the mundane explanation,” he said. (article)

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6 Responses to Sheeesh, as if I didn’t have enough to worry about…..

  1. Sharon says:

    That is one nasty looking cat. Watch out, Puddy. Bring reinforcements if you’re going to have any contact with this one.

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  2. G8rMom7 says:

    That’s how one of the many drummers for Spinal Tap died! LOL

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  3. WeeWeed says:

    Where is that cat’s other ear?

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  4. Ad rem says:

    Source of ignition? Beans + cigarette….I rest my case.

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  5. gfcandinthatorder says:

    Tnis is truely a very strange occurance but pretty well documented on many different occasions. In fact there was one that happen right on Hotel street in a convertible in broad daylight where a woman was driving her car and caught fire and she burnt to ashes except for a few.bones. And no fireplace either. I read many of the cases in school and most times wax from candles dissappears and they find a ring of scum around a certain elevation in the room. In most cases there is very little bones left and the furniture doesn’t even burn all up.

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    • Hey GFC, have you heard any rumors of fireballs out East of you? They’re still looking, but there’s a good chance the 6-ton UARS burned up close to you. How are your solar arrays looking? Any holes?

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