Question of the Week Podcast

Question of the Week episode

Sun, 3rd Aug 2014

Can humans spontaneously combust?

Orange fireball teaser (c) Dave Ansell

This week, we tackle the burning issue of spontaneous human combustion. Reported cases of people bursting into flames and burning... nowhere near a fire. Is there any scientific explanation for this?

Sound effects by freeSFX, including explosion, fart and stomach gurgle.

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In this edition of Question of the Week

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  • Spontaneous human combustion possible?

    This is for the Naked Scientist, a weird occurrence in Soweto took place about Two Weeks ago were a young man of about 20 years suddenly started burning, he was nowhere near fire (Heater, Stove or anything of that sort) but his clothes literally caught flames and he is now admitt...



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A discarded lit-cigarette or matchstick ? 

Some clothing is very flammable , e.g. shell-suits.

RD, Tue, 8th Jul 2014

There is no such thing as spontaneous human combustion, so it does not have a cause.
The cases are either burns caused by burning clothes or badly burned bodies where the fire has destroyed the cause of the fire. yellowcat, Tue, 8th Jul 2014

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