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'Overly obese' body sparks Ohio funeral home fire

The Hillside Chapel Crematory in Cincinnati, Ohio Image copyright Hillside Chapel

A crematorium in Ohio caught fire while burning the remains of an "overly obese" body, according to the owner.

Don Catchen said the corpse caused flames to engulf one of his units in the city of Cincinnati.

The fat in the body burned at a higher temperature, prompting the blaze, said the city fire chief.

The blog Confessions of a Funeral Director describes a blaze resulting from the cremation of a morbidly obese person as a "grease fire".

No other parts of the building were damaged, Mr Catchen said.

The fire was contained to the garage where the crematory unit is located, he told BBC News.

The fire began at 21:40 (01:40 GMT) on Wednesday and took about two hours to put out, Mr Catchen told local news outlet WCPO.

"My operator was in the process of cremating remains and [the body] was overly obese and apparently it got a little hotter than the unit is supposed to get," Mr Catchen added.

Image copyright Hillside Chapel

"One of the cremation containers that we had close got caught on fire and that's what burnt."

No other bodies were damaged in the fire, he said.

"We believe there were some combustible storage boxes that were too close to the ovens," said Cincinnati Fire Chief Michael Washington.

Mr Catchen added the fireproof unit is made of concrete block with a steel roof, but also has a rubberised roof.

A similar blaze at a Virginia facility in October 2014 occurred during the cremation of a 500lb (226kg) body.

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