Death of Irish Man Ruled as Spontaneous Human Combustion

Death of Irish Man Ruled as Spontaneous Human Combustion

It was probably far more terrifying than this.

For the first time in his twenty-five year career, a coroner has ruled the death of a 76 year old man as due to spontaneous human combustion. Keiran McLoughlin, a West Galeway, Ireland coroner, told officials that he could think of no other adequate cause of the bizarre death.

Michael Faherty, 76, was found dead by firefighters after his neighbor, Tom Mannion, heard Faherty’s smoke alarm and went outside to notice plumes of black smoke rolling out of his windows. Other than smoke, the only damage found in the home was to Faherty’s remains, and firefighters have been unable to determine the cause of the fire.

Faherty’s remains, particularly the organs, were found so badly burned that a cause of death was unable to be determined.

McLoughlin told The Guardian: “This fire was thoroughly investigated and I’m left with the conclusion that this fits into the category of spontaneous human combustion, for which there is no adequate explanation.”



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  1. Miss_Majic

    09/30/2011 at 3:20 PM

    Spontaneous human combustion has always terrified me because as yet there is still no explanation for it really is there? It isnt too much alcohol or fat in the body etc is it…Or am I wrong? I hope I am and they have found a reason for it

  2. Andrew Heenan

    01/17/2013 at 7:08 AM

    Plenty of possible reasons, but most likely due to bacterial activity AFTER death. Tends to occur in severeley obese people, after death from natural causes. The coroner is an idiot. If he didn’t know – and he clearly didn’t – he should have recorded an open verdict.

  3. Flucksy

    02/25/2013 at 7:12 AM

    Was the person a smoker? They are elderly, which is expected. The article never says how long the alarm was ringing for. The state of the organs sounds like the wick effect, which is what I expect, like this case, is the cause in the majority of SHC cases.

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