As you'll well know if you barbecue very often, fat is extremely flammable. Normally, the human body doesn't carry enough of the stuff for it to be a problem during cremation—but recently, an obese woman from Austria carried so much weight that her fat burnt strongly enough to set a crematorium ablaze.
The fat caused the fire inside the crematorium to reach 300C, resulting in clouds of smoke billowing out of the building when the filter mechanisms failed to stand up to the job. Firemen had to rush to the scence in Graz, Austria, where they were confronted by thick black smoke smoke which, in the words of the Daily Mail, left them "covered with a layer of sooty grease". Delightful. They eventually extinguished the fire by aiming water through the vents which are used to clear the filters of the cremation oven.
The woman in question weighed 440 pounds, and experts have claimed that it is definitely her size which caused the oven in which she was being cremated to overheat, as opposed to there being a fault. Most countries don't currently have an upper limit on weight or body size which is allowed to be cremated—but this incident could well change that. In fact, since the fire Austria and Switzerland are considering a ban on larger bodies being cremated.
The alternative, of course, is just to increase the size of our crematoriums with the size of our waistlines—but given how fast the national average BMI is increasing, we better build 'em big. [Daily Mail]
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