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Graz Crematorium Fire Blamed on 440-Pound Corpse

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By Sami K. Martin , Christian Post Reporter
June 6, 2012|8:25 am

A fire at the Graz Crematorium in Austria is being blamed on a corpse weighing 440 pounds. The crematorium's managers say that their facility was not designed to withhold that much weight or body fat and concerned citizens are asking that new measures be taken to prevent such accidents from happening.

According to reports, the unidentified woman's body weighted 440 pounds, which meant that there was an abundance of body fat. The crematorium, which was not equipped to handle the large body, went up in flames after reaching 300 degrees Celsius (572 degrees Fahrenheit).

Firefighters were able to put out the blaze by pushing water through the cleaning vents. Now officials and citizens alike are calling for crematoriums to update their procedures and equipment in order to accommodate larger bodies. Their concerns stem not only from the hazard posed by fires, but to the firefighters as well.

Those responding to the fire had to wear special equipment in order to be able to work at the crematorium. As the Daily Mail reported, they were covered in a "sticky, sooty" substance after the work was finished.

"Crematorium officials need to be more responsible and not just automatically put everybody in to be cremated," explained fireman Otto Widetschek.

Funeral director Christea Bogdan told the Daily Mail that these incidents are incredibly rare.

"We do have large bodies that we have to deal with, which weigh 30 stone (or more), but not very often. We follow the same procedures as usual for large bodies. We have to check the size in the crematorium to check if the person in the coffin will fit in the crematorium," he added.

Officials in the United Kingdom and Switzerland have already caught up with the demand for larger equipment and now have several facilities specially equipped. According to Bogdan, the typical coffin size is that of 36 inches, but there is a need for special coffins measuring 50-55 inches.

 

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