Man dies after spontaneously combusting in London street


Blackleaf
#1
Bewildered cops are investigating after a pensioner appeared to spontaneously combust during a quiet Sunday afternoon walk.

Horrified passersby desperately tried to douse the flames after John Nolan, 70, mysteriously caught fire near Tottenham Hotspur's White Hart Lane stadium in North London.

The retired construction worker, from County Mayo, Ireland, was airlifted to a specialist hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, with burns to 65 per cent of his body but sadly died from his injuries the next day.


BLAZE MYSTERY Pensioner, 70, ‘spontaneously combusts’ while walking on London street

Horrified passersby desperately tried to douse the flames after spotting John Nolan, 70, on fire

By Gemma Mullin
15th December 2017, 11:28 am

BEWILDERED cops are investigating after a pensioner appeared to spontaneously combust during a quiet Sunday afternoon walk.

Horrified passersby desperately tried to douse the flames after John Nolan, 70, mysteriously caught fire near Tottenham Hotspur's White Hart Lane stadium in North London.


John Nolan, 70, mysteriously burst into flames while out for a Sunday afternoon walk near his home in Tottenham, North London


The retired construction worker, from County Mayo, Ireland, was airlifted to a specialist hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, with burns to 65 per cent of his body but sadly died from his injuries the next day.

Police are yet to establish what caused the fire and an investigation by the London Fire Brigade found there was no accelerant on the pensioner.

Mr Nolan had been walking along Orchard Place - just a few streets away from his home in Tottenham - at about 1pm on September 17 when he went up in flames.

A post-mortem examination gave his cause of death as severe burns and an inquest will open at Barnet Coroner's Court in March next year.

Mr Nolan's family spoke of their heartbreak as they paid tribute shortly after his death.

His brother-in-law Tom Byrne told the Irish Post: “John wouldn’t hurt so much as a butterfly.

“In fact he’d find a way to bring the butterfly home and care for it.

"He was a gentle man who would do anything you asked of him.”



Emergency services raced to Orchard Place in Tottenham, North London, where Mr Nolan was ablaze

The Irishman had followed his sister Mary from Swinford to London in the 1960s, before their three other siblings followed.

Mr Nolan worked in the construction industry until the 1980s when he suffered a stroke, which forced him to retire.

Friends remember him as a "very kind" and "softly-spoken" man who "kept himself to himself".

They said he was a regular smoker who walked with a shuffle but who otherwise seemed to be in good health.

John O’Donovan, advice and support officer at Haringey Irish Cultural and Community Centre, told Sun Online: “It’s just so bizarre. We were all very shocked.

“John had a stroke a few years back and quite a bad speech impediment but he was a great listener and you’d often see him laughing at people cracking jokes. He had a brilliant sense of humour.

“He has his own mobility problems but there is another gentleman here who he would go and visit and he was absolutely devastated when John died.

“Like John there’s a lot of single men here so it’s a real community and they’ve been really shocked by his death.

“His brother doesn’t understand what’s gone on and we would just like to know what happened to him.”

One neighbour recalled how they bonded over a shared love of animals and said Mr Nolan had a three-legged dog, which he rescued after another man passed away.

Pam McGuigan added: “He never passed without a hello, a good morning or a good evening. He was always pleasant to everyone, and you never heard him say a cross word to anybody."

Another neighbour said he was "very nice", describing how she came to hear the tragic news.

She said: “I went to church on the Sunday morning and when I came back the police were knocking at the door.

“They were asking if I’d seen John and I said I had seen him the day before.

“I thought he must’ve gone missing you know, because he was quite old and when you get old sometimes your mind goes and I thought perhaps he’s disappeared.

“The next day I went to the post office and said the police had been looking for John and the woman in there said to me ‘oh, haven’t you heard? Someone set him on fire’.

“I couldn’t believe it. Who would do that to an old man? And how did nobody see it? It happened in the middle of the day and he’s an old man.”

Anyone who witnessed the incident but has yet to speak with police is urged to call PC Damien Ait-Amer via 101.

CAN A HUMAN SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST?

Spontaneous combustion is said to be when an object bursts into flames due to a chemical reaction from within - without being ignited by an external heat source.

PC Damien Ait-Amer said: "We have spoken with a number of witnesses who saw Mr Nolan ablaze, but we have yet to establish how the fire started.

"Mr Nolan was a well-liked member of the community and none of our enquiries so far have indicated that he had been involved in a dispute of any sort.

"Nor does any account given by witnesses suggest that he had been in contact with another person at the time of the fire."

No arrests have been made and his death is being treated as unexplained.

The idea that humans can spontaneously combust is viewed with sceptism by scientists, and no one has ever conclusively proven or disproven the idea.

There have been hundreds of accounts of human spontaneous combustion though - the first dating back to 1663 when a woman in Paris apparently "went up in ashes and smoke" while sleeping.

In cases of spontaneous human combustion, the bodies are said to be burned beyond recognition aside from the extremities, while the property surrounding the person tends to remain intact too.

Theories vary with one of the most popular being that it's caused by a build-up of methane in the intestines which is ignited by enzymes.

Others have speculated that it's a result of a build-up of static electricity inside the body while the theory it's caused by excessive amounts of alcohol in the body became widely known after Charles Dickens killed off a character by spontaneous human combustion in Bleak House.

Some scientists have proposed the possible explanation as a "wick effect" which suggests that smoking a cigarette could act like an inside-out candle.

Source: howstuffworks.com

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/514580...-london-death/
Last edited by Blackleaf; Dec 16th, 2017 at 06:44 AM..
 
spaminator
#2
[youtube]rY0WxgSXdEE[/youtube]
 
Johnnny
#3
Hows that for a burning sensation!
 
Blackleaf
#4
It reminds me of the death of the Witchsmeller Pursuivant in Blackadder.