Grievers in Manchester have been urged to follow crematorium rules and not slip certain items into the caskets of the deceased after a bizarre incident in which a coconut left in a coffin blew up and left staff cowering in fear.
It appears that supplying the dearly departed with items to take to the next world is not something entirely confined to ancient history — but then again, our ancestors did not have public crematoria. In our day and age such customs may have unintended consequences, as a Greater Manchester facility has tactfully reminded its clients.
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“We are asking people to be considerate regarding the items they place into coffins before the cremation process,” Donna Ball, Assistant Director of Community Services at Bolton Council, told the BBC.
“We have seen a rise in things like e-cigarettes, bottles of whisky and vodka, golf balls, sometimes golf clubs, and mobile phones. Mobile phones in particular are a real issue for us.
Usually the funeral director will pick them up but sometimes things are slid inside people’s pockets and they are just not picked up during the process, then when they go through the cremation process a hell of an explosion can sometimes occur.”
The BBC reported that a coconut left in one of the coffins “sent fear” through the crematorium staff when it suddenly exploded.
The assistant director added that placing electrical devices with batteries into the coffin would raise crematorium emissions up to “unacceptable levels.” It’s not all mobile phones either: One study of British crematoria staff found that nearly half of them had experienced an exploding pacemaker, as the chemicals in the device’s powerful batteries can ignite, creating toxic fumes and sending bits of red-hot metal flying across the room. Such an explosion can be dangerous if staff open up the cremation chamber to check on the state of the body.
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