More than 200 spontaneous human combustion cases in last three centuries

Published: 10th August 2013 08:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th August 2013 08:59 AM   |  A+A-

Explaining the bizarre phenomenon of a baby Rahul catching fire spontanously, Dr Narayana Babu, Professor and Head of Paediatrics, Kilpauk Medical College, where the infant has been admitted, told Express that the burns were caused by fire ignited by combustible substances emitted from the body of the child.

The doctor said that the fluids were escaping the body without breaking down to non-combustible forms, due to an unknown mechanism.  

He said about 200 such cases had been reported in the past three centuries. Asked about the survival chances of the child, he maintained that only caution could save Rahul as there were reports of people who had died of this syndrome in their seventies and sixties around the world.

“The baby should be kept in a cool and aerated space and should always be kept away from inflammatory articles and never be exposed to the hot sun for long. Further, the infant should also be clothed with fire-proof attire. However, he also pointed out that there was a risk of the fire burning within the body. “We have specialists in skin, kidney, and burns departments monitoring the baby, besides a dedicated team of doctors monitoring his progress round the clock,” he said.

Another doctor from the KMC burns ward, however, claimed that no human tissue could ignite on its own.

KMC Dean Dr P Ramakrishnan told Express they have not arrived at any conclusion but are observing the child to study how the fire was caused. Hospital sources said that the forensic study carried out on Rahul could not find any combustible gas leading to the fire on the body.

Sources added that there were only scars of burns which had occured at least a month ago on the baby as against the claims of the parents. The report also observed that the burn scars could be found only on the anterior portion of the body and that there was no recent burns. It added that, if need be, skin could also be grafted over the wound.

Visibly upset, the father of the child, Karnan, said his family was worried as villagers were afraid of the child, believing the infant was being haunted by an evil force that triggers the fire.

Further investigation of the case was on at the hospital.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp