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32 people who work with the dead reveal shocking stories

14.

“My dad had some business to attend to across the state, very close to where his funeral director friend (we’ll call him Mr. Mort) lived. Mr. Mort invited him over for coffee, but said, ‘Hey, while you’re here, can you help me with a particularly heavy body?’, meaning a larger body that needed to be cremated. My dad was in great spirits and said, sure.”

“There was a 160-200 kg woman who had to be put from a stretcher onto the conveyor belt and rolled into the crematorium oven. Normally the bodies are put in some kind of cardboard coffin, but she was too big to fit in, so she had to wear a hospital gown. After some planning and effort, they managed to put her on the conveyor belt, slide her into the oven and turn it on.

The crematorium was nearly automated. Basically, all he had to do was push a button and whatever was needed was done to properly turn everything inside to ash. So my dad and Mr. Mort set it up and walked down the street to get some coffee. About 20 minutes later, they saw a fire truck drive by but thought nothing of it. Then another one came by. This was a small town in western South Dakota, so there weren’t many fire trucks. They went outside and saw flames coming out of the crematorium, some oil dripping from the building, and smelled burning ham.

What happened: The woman was too big for the machine. There wasn’t enough room around her body in the furnace to generate the heat needed to properly reduce her to ashes. However, the heat was great enough to melt her skin and turn her fat reserves into hot oil that leaked out of the crematorium. The oil set the building on fire (fortunately it was in a separate garage so the entire morgue didn’t go up in flames) and burning oil began to flow down the driveway and the street.

The first fire truck was parked too close to the fire and the hot oil flowed past the tires at one corner, melting them and bursting them. So it was quite a mess: firefighters put out the flames and others jumped into the two fire trucks to get them away as quickly as possible.”

—u/Bugloaf

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