Austrian fire officials have blamed a fire that gutted a crematorium facility in the city of Graz, southern Austria in April, on the excess body fat of an obese woman that blocked an air filter.
According to Fox News, the fire at the facility in Graz was caused by the body of a 440-pound woman (200kg) that reportedly overheated the crematorium's filter system and caused it to burst into flames.
Gizmodo notes that anyone who has handled a barbecue would notice that animal fat is very flammable being a source of combustible fuel for the animal body.
According to Gizmodo, fat from the dead woman's body sizzled in the oven and caused the inside of the crematorium to rise as high as 300C. Daily Mail reports officials realized there was problem when thick black smoke began billowing out of the oven. They switched off the device immediately but the filter had already caught fire.
Firemen were rushed to the scene. The men fought to put out fire that produced thick black smoke that left them "covered with a layer of sooty grease," Daily Mail reports The fire was extinguished after the firefighters began aiming water through the vents used to clear the filters of the cremation oven.
Fox News reports that firefighters said they found it difficult to extinguish the flames because of a thick layer of insulation that lined the crematorium's walls.
According to Fox News, fires caused by fat from obese bodies overheating the crematorium oven have also been reported in Switzerland and Germany.
Daily Mail reports that funeral director Christea Bogdan of Gillman Undertakers, Tooting, south London, said he had never before heard of such an event in his entire career.
Daily Mail reports he said: "We do have large bodies that we have to deal with, which weigh 30+ stone, but not very often. We follow the same procedures as usual for large bodies. We have to check the size in the crematorium to check the person in the coffin will fit in the crematorium." Bogdan also explained that most crematoria deal with a standard 36ins outside measurement of a coffin, but some facilities, such as the City of London Crematorium, cater for larger, 50-55ins coffin circumferences.
Former Graz city fire chief Otto Widetschek, has recommend special crematoria for obese people as a way of dealing with the fire risk involved in cremating very obese bodies.
According to Daily Mail, Otto Widetschek, said: "Crematorium officials need to be more responsible and not just automatically put everybody in to be cremated." Fox News reports he said: "In Switzerland, there is now a special crematorium for XXL-bodies."
Gizmodo notes that many countries don't have upper limits for body weight allowed into cremation ovens. But many will be considering such regulations after this incident.