Is it possible for a human's metabolism to set them on fire?

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Is it possible for a human's metabolism to set them on fire?

Post by MrOddBall » Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:33 am

I'm not sure where to post this, so I'm just going to post it here. I'm a complete noob to science so go easy on me.

I was inspired to post by a news article from 2 days ago about an elderly man named John Nolan, who was seen to 'burst into flames' and later died. His last words referred to a cigarette but his death is listed as unexplained. ... ombustion/

It also made the headlines in the news and they're saying it's another case of metabolism setting people on fire aka ''spontaneous human combustion''.

Here's a thread on Reddit about the John Nolan case: ... on_london/

There's also a person's anecdote in the same thread, which involves seeing and smelling smoke coming from their friend's bare skin (they didn't feel any pain while this was happening and were un harmed afterwards); ... n/drcwzkw/

Is it really possible for body metabolism to suddenly do this? (Either generally all over the body, or localized to just limbs or a leg?) Can metabolism/chemical reactions very suddenly get very hot - enough to cause fire or smoke to appear on the skin? I've read about other cases of people's skin smoking who are said to be ''almost'' victims of spontaneous combustion, but every time they don't feel any pain while their body/body part is giving off smoke from this ''internal heat.''

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