Coroner: Man Died of Spontaneous Combustion

Galway (Ireland)Republic of Ireland

GALWAY, Ireland (KTLA) -- A coroner in Ireland has ruled that a 76-year-old man who died under mysterious circumstances last year "spontaneously combusted."

Michael Faherty's badly-burned body was found in his home in Galway on December 22, 2010, the Irish Times reports, adding that investigators were left baffled.

Forensic experts said the death had not been caused by a fire. No accelerant was found in the home, and investigators ruled out foul play.

Coroner Ciaran McLoughlin said he had never encountered such a case in his 25 years working in the region.

After extensive research, McLoughlin concluded that Faherty died of "spontaneous human combustion, for which there is no adequate explanation," the paper reports.

The case is believed to be the first of its kind in Ireland.

The coroner said a book on forensic pathology noted that in such reported cases, the victim's body was almost always near an open fireplace or chimney.

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