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Sheriff Lockhart spent about 20 years as an arson investigator for the Fort Smith, Arkansas Police Department, before retiring to run for Sheriff in Sequoyah County. Lockhart said he'd never seen anything like it. He said it didn't seem that any accelerant was used and only the floor below Vanzandt's body was damaged.
The girl, Ireland Lane, had been painting in her room at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, ABC affiliate KATU reported. Moments later, she ran into the hallway screaming, with her T-shirt aflame. "I've been in medicine going back 30 years now and never heard anything like this. And hopefully I never will again," Dr. Stacy Nicholson, physician-in-chief at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, told KATU.
They say it was possibly spontaneous combustion. Obviously it was. But it was the man's clothes that spontaneously combusted, and possibly his hair. Those are absorbent flammable materials and all such materials are absorbing hydrogen sulfide and/or methane and spontaneously combusting. There have been numerous incidents like this now, of people - or rather their clothes and maybe their hair - simply bursting into flame, and there are going to be increasing numbers of people burning to death this way as the number, size and concentration of gas plumes in the atmosphere continue to increase...
Spontaneous human combustion (SHC) describes reported cases of the burning of a living (or very recently deceased) human body without an apparent external source of ignition. There have been about 200 cited cases worldwide over a period of around 300 years. There are many hypotheses that attempt to explain human spontaneous combustion: Natural explanations based on unknown or otherwise unobserved phenomena (e.g. that the production of abnormally concentrated gas or raised levels of blood alcohol might cause spontaneous ignition) Natural explanations relating to health and lifestyle factors (e.g. smoking, not consuming adequate levels of water etc.) Natural explanations that involve an external source of ignition (e.g. the victim was drunk and dropped a cigarette)
The spontaneous combustion of people (i.e. death from a fire originating within the victim’s body without a direct external cause) is a theoretical explanation for a number of unexplained cases, some of which are well-documented but many of which are not. The more intriguing cases share the following characteristics: The body is completely or almost completely incinerated, while nearby furniture exposed to high temperatures remains intact. Damage is limited to the victim’s body and clothing, to the area of the floor or furniture on which he or she died and to the ceiling above the corpse. The torso is the focus of the fire and if remains are found these are of the extremities, such as the feet. There are no traces of fire accelerant and the fire does not have an evident external cause. Often the combustion seems to happen simultaneously at many parts of the body, usually without any obvious points of origin. The victim is typically alone at the time of death and is thought to have been alive when the fire started, despite showing little sign of having struggled.
Cancer survivor Ireland Lane, who was being treated at Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, Oregon for an unrelated head injury, reportedly ran screaming into a hallway with her T-shirt on fire earlier this month.
The fire started after the child used a hand sanitiser to clean a table where she had earlier been painting a wooden box as a gift for her nurses, the Oregonian reported.
Fire authorities are now investigating whether the blaze started when the hand sanitiser mixed with static electricity.
Alcohol gel can catch fire, producing a translucent blue flame. This is due to the flammable alcohol in the gel. Some hand sanitizer gels may not produce this effect due to a high concentration of water or moisturizing agents.
There have been some rare instances where alcohol has been implicated in starting fires in the operating room, including a case where alcohol used as an antiseptic pooled under the surgical drapes in an operating room and caused a fire when a cautery instrument was used. Alcohol gel was not implicated. To minimize the risk of fire, alcohol rub users are instructed to rub their hands until dry, which indicates that the flammable alcohol has evaporated