Coroner rules death by spontaneous combustion in Ireland

BBC News – 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.

West Galway coroner Dr Ciaran McLoughlin said it was the first time in 25 years of investigating deaths that he had returned such a verdict.

Forensic experts found 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.

Credit @newhumanist and @jourdemayne on Twitter

This is a confusing story since there is an obvious source of ignition and no plausible theory as to how the human body can spontaneously combust. The situation is not so different from many other cases of burn deaths. I’d say the coroner missed the boat on this one to make such a conclusion.

Here is an additional commentary from Skepticblog on this weird and widely reported story.

  4 comments for “Coroner rules death by spontaneous combustion in Ireland

  1. September 23, 2011 at 7:54 AM

    In my weakened state, I can’t even facepalm. I’ll have student do it for me later.

  2. Stevarious
    September 23, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    Ruled ‘death by credulous coroner’. Maybe he’s gunning for early retirement?

  3. idoubtit
    September 23, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    Good point. It clearly sounds like he didn’t do MUCH research because there are good explanations for what may have happened. Unfortunately, the story is missing some details that may be important in the investigation.

  4. idoubtit
    September 23, 2011 at 9:01 AM

    Be sure to check out the JREF forum thread with good questions and comments.

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