Henrico crematorium fire caused by 500-pound body

Posted at 8:34 AM, Oct 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-09 08:51:05-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. – A fire that damaged the roof at Southside Cremation Services on Crump Street in eastern Henrico was likely sparked by a “rather large body,” fire investigators say. That’s according to a report from WTVR in Richmond, Virginia.

The fire started when the furnace used to cremate the 500-pound body got too hot, Henrico Fire spokesman Capt. Daniel Rosenbaum said.

“The Henrico Fire Marshal’s office has determined the cause of the fire to have been accidental in nature,” Rosenbaum wrote in an email. “The rubber roofing near the smoke stack was ignited by the heat of the stack.”

Three people inside the building made it out of the building unharmed. Fire crews from both Henrico and Richmond quickly got the fire under control and extinguished, Rosenbaum told WTVR.

Jerry Hendrix, Operations Manager of Southside Cremation Services said he has never had anything like this happen in the 20 years he has been there.

He said the body weight at least 500 pounds.

“The man was a little larger than what we had done in the past,” said Hendrix.

The body of an “average-size adult” takes two to three hours to cremate in a 2,000-degree crematory, according to the Cremation Society of Virginia‘s website. Larger bodies take longer.

“When the person is too heavy, the guy running the crematory needs to not have continuous heat coming down on the body. Otherwise it would get too hot,” Emory Sanford , with Windsor Crematory said.

Read the complete story from WTVR, HERE.