View Full Version : Spontaneous combustion of Oak tree

Pat Barry
09-17-2012, 7:43 PM
Strangest thing happened late last week in my neighborhood. An old oak tree, around 4 foot diameter or so, started smoking, literally, right out of the base. A neighbor called the fire department and they started poking and the next thing you know the base is on fire. Unfortunately I did not get a picture of the flames, you will have to trust me I guess, but the attached photo shows what it looked like in the morning after they opened it up a bit with axe and chain saw and doused the fire. This old tree was around long time. They even curved the sidewalk around it about 40 years ago so it didn't have to come down. Now I know its been awful hot and dry this summer but this was crazy. Ever hear or see anything like this before? And yes, this was a live tree. Fully loaded with leaves, not some dead woodpecker wood.241339

jason thigpen
09-17-2012, 8:24 PM
looks like the trunk is hollow. any chance that someone threw a cigarette butt into that large crack? that would be my guess.

Pat Barry
09-17-2012, 8:48 PM
It wasn't open like that at the base or even up the trunk until the fire department started working on it and opened it up.

John Coloccia
09-17-2012, 8:51 PM
I had a plant catch fire once. Something about peat moss and heat. I suspect the tree was rotted out and had the equivalent of a compost pile going on inside of it.

Pat Barry
09-17-2012, 10:25 PM
Thats kinda my thought as well. It has a pretty big cavity. The city is supposed to remove it soon so I might be able to get a picture or two

Belinda Williamson
09-18-2012, 3:17 PM
I agree with a combination of Jason and John . . . from the split further up the trunk I'm guessing the base had a hollow cavity, rotting material created a compost pile, someone carelessly dropped a cigarette butt into the upper opening and that was all it took. Either that, or the squirrels are working on their fire starting skills for a scout badge and things just got out of hand.

Kevin Bourque
09-18-2012, 5:39 PM
When I was a kid we threw some firecrackers into a hollow tree and it caught fire. We blamed it on spontaneous combustion too.:)

Phil Thien
09-18-2012, 7:00 PM
Did you see a guy wearing a long robe, maybe carrying a couple of stone tablets, in the vicinity?

charlie knighton
09-18-2012, 8:02 PM
sounds like yogi the bare........and that squirel with the ww1 goggles and cover

Brian Libby
09-18-2012, 8:13 PM
another possible answer is it was smoldering from lighting strike !

Paul Saffold
09-18-2012, 10:07 PM
Maybe the lightening bugs were having a party and got carried away.

Myk Rian
09-19-2012, 11:39 AM
More likely spontaneous instead of a cigarette.

Gary Hodgin
09-19-2012, 1:11 PM
Haven't seen a girl named Carrie wondering around the neighborhood have you?

Bill Cunningham
09-20-2012, 9:40 PM
Trolls.... Blame it on Trolls.. They always live in big hollow trees. Probably started by methane ignition from a flatulent Troll :D