Saturday, September 19, 2015

Infant Spontaneous Human Combustion

      We are all aware of the bizarre rumors of individuals randomly exploding into fire with no known scientific explanation- or no accepted scientific explanation. For the most part the victims of this occurrence have been alone and their ashes discovered later, along with a few leftover bits and pieces not consumed by the flames. The debate rages as to whether the cause has a biological explanation or if the people die due to some external interference. To add to the mystery there has been two cases, both in England, of spontaneous human combustion occurring in infants.
     In 1973 Parvindur Kaur, a 7 month old boy, and the carriage the baby was lying in burst into flames in the family’s living room, within full view of her mother, father, and two sisters. Initial attempts to extract the baby from the carriage were unsuccessful. The father received severe burns on his hands when he tried to pick up the child and ended up accidently dropping him back into the flames. While the younger daughter called for an ambulance, the other family members hurriedly brought in pots of water to douse the flames. They were able to pick up the baby after this and he was taken to the Burns Unit at Birmingham hospital. Despite the doctor’s best efforts, the child died the next day. An investigation found no cause for the fire, the focal point of it seemed centered around the child itself. The family blamed the carriage manufacturers and initiated a civil suit against them which was ultimately unsuccessful.
       The following year 6 month old, Samantha Bellows, also caught fire in her crib. Her parents woke one night, reacting to a wave of intense heat and found her crib ablaze. The crib was placed in the parent’s bedroom, it being a small flat. Later police found no evidence of forced entry in either the doors or windows, so it was doubtful that a stranger entered and started the fire. As the mother called for help, the father managed to rescue Samantha from the crib. As in the case above, he received severe burns, but managed to hold onto the child and rushed to the kitchen sink to cover her in water. The fire was extinguished but the baby died shortly thereafter. Both distraught parents were held for questioning, but ultimately were released due to lack of evidence of foul play.