Plant spontaneously combusts, catches house on fire

Published: Aug. 30, 2010 at 11:07 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2010 at 9:26 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – After more than a month, the cause of a house fire in Greene County is now known.  Fire investigators say a July 25th fire was caused by spontaneous combustion.

"Her words were that the whole front of the house was on fire," said homeowner Brian Duncan.

When investigators started searching for an origin they say it started in the same spot where the plant was sitting.

"Spontaneous combustion is something where you have to have a lot of variables come together and it has to be just right," said Jonesboro Fire Department Fire Marshall Jason Wills.

"It looked to me like someone had come up on my front porch and started a fire," said Duncan.

Wills said it's rare, but spontaneous combustion does happen.

"It happens in organic material in the process of decomposition," said Wills.

That process lets off heat and with the help of the sun can get hot enough to catch fire.

The heat of the fire caused some of the glass in the front door to break allowing the smoke to penetrate the house. 

"We basically had to have the whole house painted on the inside, floors repaired, carpet repaired," said Duncan.

$20,000 in damage later, Duncan is warning his friends and family members about spontaneous combustion.

"It's something that does happen, but this is the first one in our area that I'm aware of," said Wills.

Wills also said he doesn't want this to alarm people.  For something like this to happen a lot of variables have to line up just right.

©2010 KAIT.  All rights reserved.