Monday, May 28, 2012

Fire halts cremation

Fire crews were called to put out a blaze at a crematorium. Dozens of mourners at a funeral had to flee when the furnace doors failed to close behind a coffin and sent smoke billowing into the chapel.

The drama at Blackley Crematorium in Manchester happened towards the end of a service. It it thought the doors on the furnace – which reaches temperatures of 1,200 celsius – failed after the coffin went in. Two shocked workers spotted the fault and with flames pouring out – putting the building at risk – one hit the stop button on the conveyor belt and called for help.

Fire crews raced to the scene to tackle the still-burning coffin as dozens of mourners gathered outside. Subsequent services were delayed, causing a traffic jam of hearses, while the fire was put out. One mourner, who was waiting for the next service, said: “The vicar came out and told us that there would be a delay because the building had caught fire. You couldn’t see anything but you could smell it.

“We had a bit of a laugh about it – you don’t expect a cremation to be stopped because of a fire.” Another added: “It was like a Carry On film. They do the funerals one after the other so there was a bit of a back up. There were a couple of hearses backed up and two fire engines.”

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