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Death in Ireland ruled as 'spontaneous human combustion'

BALLYBANE, Ireland, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- A coroner ruled that a man who burned to death in Ireland was a victim of "spontaneous human combustion" for which "there is no adequate explanation."

Michael Faherty, 76, died at his home at Clareview Park in Ballybane Dec. 22, 2010, leaving investigators with no clues as to the cause of death, the BBC reported Friday.

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Dr. Ciaran McLoughlin, the West Galway coroner, said, in returning a ruling of spontaneous combustion, it was the first time in 25 years he had ever returned such a verdict.

A fire in the fireplace of the room where Faherty's badly burned body was found was not the cause of the blaze that killed him, forensic experts said.

The only damage was to the body, the ceiling above him and the floor underneath him, they said.

McLoughlin said he consulted medical textbooks in an attempt to find an explanation and noted that reported cases were almost always near an open fireplace or chimney.

"This fire was thoroughly investigated and I'm left with the conclusion that this fits into the category of spontaneous human combustion, for which there is no adequate explanation," he said.

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