Plant spontaneously combusts, sets house on fire

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posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 09:35 PM
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Plant spontaneously combusts, sets house on fire




There’s an intriguing story from Arkansas about a houseplant suddenly and spontaneously bursting into flame – spontaneous combustion. This strange occurrence resulted in a house fire a month ago. The house is in Jonesboro, Arkansas, suffered damage to the front porch and living room. Investigators had been spending a month investigating the cause of the fire. The home owner, Brian Duncan, is quoted as saying, “It looked to me like someone had come up on my front porch and started a fire.” But there is no evidence of arson, or any other cause of the fire. Only a potted plant.


This is a new one on me. It's rare enough to hear of a human spontaneously combusting, but a plant?? Has anyone ever even heard of this before?

Here's a photo of the people's porch where the potted houseplant was sitting.



The arson investigators officially ruled it as "spontaneous combustion of houseplant".


www.datelinezero.com...

edit to add: I had no idea where to post this, so move it if need be.


[edit on 31/8/2010 by Chamberf=6]




posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 09:39 PM
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man thous bannan peppers are mity hot.
every one knows you cant have them as house plants as fires have been known to start taht way.
(on page two of the midnightstar ) frog boy marrys pig girl .



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 09:43 PM
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Off the top of my head it seems to me that a plant - more specificially the various chemicals that would be in potting soil and used for pest control and plant feeding - could probably explain combustion.



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 09:44 PM
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reply to post by xxcalbier
 


I agree it sound National Enquirer-ish.

But the linked article also has the video of the local news channel's coverage of it...
so I think this actually happended...

But could the arson investigators have been wrong? Maybe, maybe not...



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 09:54 PM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 


I would have to go with this as well.

Chemical reaction with other chemicals and/or with environmental conditions (heat, dryness).

Raist



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:02 PM
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the flowerpot had contained dead, decomposing flowers and potting soil that his wife had planted in the summer of 2009.


so it was basically a pot full of decomposing plant material or compost, if you have ever made compost you will know that it catches fire extremely easily


[edit on 31-8-2010 by davespanners]



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:07 PM
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Did it maybe have one of those glass "automatic watering" things you get at the local Rite-aid, Walgreens or such?
Perchance that refracted sunlight at the right time where nitrogen, oxygen and methane from decomposition may just decide to come alight?



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:10 PM
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reply to post by davespanners
 


I knew compost got hot, but didn't realize it got hot enough to combust.

Yeesh, I've been living in the city too long..



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:11 PM
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I have no idea what happened to the link in my above post..

here it is again, hope it works now



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:14 PM
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After seeing the fact that it was indeed a dead plant with all the right elements for this to happen I am going to guess the investigators here were just lazy and are saying it “magically” bursts into flame on its own.

Nice how in no time the people at ATS can get to the real facts of how the plant catches fire but the investigators just call it spontaneous. I would hate for them to actually use the stuff in their head to think about root causes and logic.


Raist



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:15 PM
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reply to post by Chamberf=6
 


You obviously haven't been keeping up your weekly subscription to
composting news



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:16 PM
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reply to post by davespanners
 


Hey, nice find man.

Thanks for the link to a more in depth article on it.



edit to add: I just spit soda on to my monitor after that last post..


[edit on 31/8/2010 by Chamberf=6]



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:18 PM
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reply to post by davespanners
 


From your link.


"The fire was caused by self-heating through decomposition of organic materials contained within a plastic flowerpot," the Aug. 25 letter from State Farm Insurance Co. said.
Or, in layman's terms, spontaneous combustion.

No in layman’s terms the plant caught fire due to the chemical reaction of decomposition in all the right elements. I hate when people call spontaneous combustion when that really is not the case.

When I think SC I think of something bursting into flame without a reason to do so, not because of all the conditions being right.

Raist



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:18 PM
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Originally posted by Chamberf=6
reply to post by davespanners
 


I knew compost got hot, but didn't realize it got hot enough to combust.

Yeesh, I've been living in the city too long..


Generally, it won't but if the concentrations of oxygen, hydrogen (via methane) and nitrogen are just right, the flashpoint may be affected and lowered to the point where little more than a slightly concentrated heat source such as the glass watering thing I mentioned above could act as a magnifying glass and raise the temperature of the soil enough to begin smouldering which could lead to open combustion.

Or at least, that's my theory.



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:19 PM
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reply to post by Chamberf=6
 


looks like a clear cut case of a Cannabis sativa suicide bomber plant.

twisted humor off...

i'm a fire investigator. not sure about this one, though. sorry.

S&F Chamber,
et

edited to add:
actually i do have one possibility, but looking at the picture of the plant, i'm not sure if it is possible.

a few years back there was a fire at the golf course at nellis afb. i was part of the investigation team for that fire. but, i was still in training at the time.

the fire started in a huge trench where the golf course grass clippings and the dead shrubs and trees were being dumped. in nevada it is usually hot and dry. but the day prior it did rain. the rain is important here.

there was no notable fire source, no ignition source detectible. the area was secure, and no one had any reason to be there. and no one had been there for 4 days.

so what started the fire?

moisture mixing with heaped up dead grass and organic material which fed bacteria. it was the bacteria that heated up to the point of spontanious combustion, and it was the bacteria's interactions with the rotting organic material that ignited the fire.

but, in that case, the fire started smoldering deep under the organic material, and it was the moisture introduced into the usually hot and dry grass that also aided the ignition.

i'm not saying for certain this is the case here, since we are talking about a well ventilated dead plant that was exposed to open air (viewing the pic in the link). the fire that started at the nellis afb golf course started more than a few feet deep in a "land fill" type environment. about 3 acres of land that was more than 15 feet deep, and the clippings and landscaping crews had been dumping organic material there for well over a decade without incident. the fire was smoldering for days. and we were out there round the clock for about a week.

hope this might help, i have no other ideas at this moment,
et

[edit on 31-8-2010 by Esoteric Teacher]



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:25 PM
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A chemical reaction is the most likely cause of the so-called spontaneous combustion. Plants are known to unleash methane gas when they decompose. Methane is a flammable gas. All it took was a catalyst to cause the flame. The dead plant illustrates this as a plausible theory. The spontaneous combustion explanation, in my opinion, is nothing more than a case of the homeowner or the town trying to get their five minutes of fame.



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:29 PM
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reply to post by RidleyFox
 


That's the only thing, though.

It was the fire investigators that called it spontaneous combustion. Why would they call it that when they knew the actual reason why it conflagrated?



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:34 PM
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Well, since their neighbor, the beautiful state of Louisiana was getting all the attention with the five year anniversary of Katrina striking New Orleans, Jonesboro probably needed a tabloid item in order to boost tourism, lol. I wouldn't be surprised if another spontaneous combustion occured within the next few weeks in the same town.



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:48 PM
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here is an article on how bacteria (and gasses produced) in composting can heat up:

aem.asm.org...


[edit on 31-8-2010 by Esoteric Teacher]



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 10:53 PM
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Originally posted by Chamberf=6
It was the fire investigators that called it spontaneous combustion. Why would they call it that when they knew the actual reason why it conflagrated?


fire investigators only use the term "spontaneous combustion" in reference to the right conditions having existed for such an event to occur.


Investigators must be aware that spontaneous ignition can take place given the right fuels and the right circumstances. Investigation of fires caused by self-heating, because of the balances of time and heat necessary, can be very difficult.
more: www.interfire.org...





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