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Crematorium Fires Increase as Population Gets More Obese (Fatter)

Germany Learning From Experience

IN GERMANY ROUGHLY HALF THE REMAINS of deceased people are cremated and half of them are medically obese, following the trend in much of the western world.  This high rate of cremation is bringing notice to a growing problem as large numbers of crematoriums are experiencing severe damages as burning fat overwhelms the capability of the furnace to contain the process.

Ulf Hanke writes in today's edition of Spiegel:

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 was determined that the cause of the fire was "extreme heat due to burning a high amount of fat." 

When an event happens and the fire/heat overwhelm the chamber, there is a flap behind the vent that automatically opens and discharges the excess heat and smoke, and the particulates of heavy metals such as dental fillings plus other things that are usually filtered out, directly into the outside air.  This is leading more crematories to restrict their use to bodies under a certain weight.  The industry is establishing guidelines for weight limits based on the size and type of furnace in use.  Hanke continues:

However, that still leaves the issue of what will be done with the bodies of those exceeding such weight limits. Indeed, such measures could force people to scramble around in hearses in search of suitable cremation facilities. In France, for example, several crematoriums refused to accept the body of a 140-kilogram (380-lbs.) woman. The woman's daughter then wrote to the newspaper Le Parisien complaining of post-mortem discrimination against her mother.

Now we have two new, additional problems to learn about and train for, excessive fires in sealed crematory ovens for firefighters, and the ambulance crews have to learn how to avoid post-mortem discrimination.

Read the entire article in Spiegel HERE.

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