Germany is a world leader in crematorium technology, but its crematoria are finding it hard to cope with some of its XXL citizens:
The crematorium employee in the western German town of Hamelin took a last look at the coffin before pushing it inside the furnace. This was the third coffin he had processed on the morning of January 13, and the body itself weighed over 200 kilograms (440 pounds). Of that, only two kilograms of ashes were supposed to remain after cremation. But, 15 minutes later, flames shot out of the crematorium’s 10-meter-high (33-foot-high) stainless-steel chimney, and parts of it began to melt.
Unable to bring the fire under control, the employee called the fire department. Firemen determined that the smoking chimney was glowing at 600 degrees Celsius (1,100 degrees Fahrenheit). They cooled it from the side and used an infrared camera to track the spread of heat through the building. It took four hours to reduce the body in the furnace to ash.
It’s the high fat content that does it.
Firefighters responding to a fire at a crematorium in Hamburg in January 2008 even had to don protective breathing masks. The cremation of the body of an overweight man had led to a deflagration. The bypass flaps jammed and exhaust was unable to escape through the chimney. As a result, brownish smoke billowed through the building and the firefighters’ instruments showed high levels of toxic carbon monoxide.
To avoid spikes in pollution levels, a study by the Bavarian Environment Agency recommends placing coffins of particularly heavy corpses into the furnace “with the lid slightly open”.
Because there are so many crematoria in Germany, there is much competition between them. This has brought the cost of cremation down to £250.
Is anyone aware of similar fat-fire problems in UK crematoria? (We know all about the cost problems.)
Info source here.