Police in London are investigating a mysterious case of spontaneous human combustion, after a man burst into flames in the middle of a London street.
John Nolan, a 70 year old Irish man, was walking down a street in Haringey in North London on September 17 2017 when, according to reports, he spontaneously caught fire. Police and fire services were called to the scene in Orchard Place, Haringey but by then it was too late to save him.
“His face and head were swollen and his hair was burnt off, it was really horrible stuff,” says Mr Nolan’s nephew, Kevin Byrne,
Detectives investigating the strange case say the cause of Nolan’s death is unexplained. No flammable objects were found on him and specialist fire investigators could find no reason for why the former construction worker from County Mayo caught fire and died. The unexplained case is still open and the police are appealing for more witnesses.
“We have spoken with a number of witnesses who saw Mr Nolan ablaze, but we have yet to establish how the fire started. Says PC Damien Ait-Amer who is investigating the case. “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.”
Spontaneous Human combustion is an unexplained phenomenon but experts believe it may be possible, in very rare occasions, for a body to ignite from the inside.
Bernard Knight, a pathologist who conducted over 20,000 autopsies for the UK government believes the strange case will be solved.
“For someone to walk out onto the streets and just burst into flames is extremely peculiar,” he told The Daily Telegraph.“In the course of my career I saw maybe three or four cases of so-called spontaneous combustion, but they were all indoors near an open fireplace. In once case the body had burnt through the floor.” He added: “This is very unusual because it took place outside, but a failure to find a cause does not mean there isn’t one.”
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