Crematorium Fire Caused By 500-Pound Body In Virginia

It takes two to three hours to burn the average body in a crematorium -- but it only takes minutes for a 500-pound body to burn the roof off a crematorium.

A fire that lit up the roof of a crematorium in Henrico County, Virginia, was caused by the corpse of an obese man that got way too hot in the furnace, WTKR reports.

Jerry Hendrix, a manager at Southside Cremation Services, says he'd never worked with a body that large in his 20 years on the job. The body generated enough heat that firefighters said the "rubber roofing near the smoke stack was ignited."

"When the person is too heavy, the guy running the crematory needs to not have continuous heat coming down on the body," Emory Sanford, a worker at another local crematory, told WTKR. "Otherwise it would get too hot."

Firefighters deemed the blaze accidental. WFMY reports:

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.

According to the station, Lynne Helmick, the Deputy Executive Director of the Boards of Funeral Directors and Embalmers, said cremation facilities do undergo state inspections. However she was unable to provide details into the last time Southside Cremation Services was inspected.

The extent of the damage wasn't immediately clear.