Spontaneous Combustion Causes Arkansas House Fire


Sometimes a story comes along that is just so strange, so improbable, it’s irresistible. This sounds like it should be the stuff of urban legends, but it’s true. A house fire in a home in Paragould, Arkansas was caused by the spontaneous combustion of a bunch of dead flowers.

Yes. The report from State Farm Insurance, dated August 25, read, in part, “The fire was caused by self-heating through decomposition of organic materials contained within a plastic flowerpot.”

The fire caused about $20,000 worth of damage to the home located approximately 150 miles northeast of Little Rock. The flower pot in question had been sitting on the front porch full of decomposing flowers and potting soil since the summer of 2009.

No one was hurt in the fire, which was extinguished by a family member with a garden hose before the volunteer fire department even arrived. The pot burned through a deck, falling to the ground below and catching the home’s vinyl siding on fire.

The resulting heat broke a window beside the front door and the home’s AC unit sucked in smoke from the fire that required the entire interior to be repainted and the carpet replaced.

No surprisingly, the local fire marshal said that instances of spontaneous combustion were rare. (Frankly, I thought all home fires wound up being blamed on “faulty wiring.”)

I suppose the morals here are legion:

– Water your plants.
– Clean off the front porch.
– And pay your homeowners premiums faithfully!

You never know when or why you’re going to need your insurance!

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