We hear the words spontaneous combustion and images of burning people and satanic symbols flood our thoughts. Our imagination conjures the very worst mankind can inflict on another. We wonder how much fiction is in the worst horror movies and how much reality.
Until beginning my research on the topic for a most unusual investigation request, I didn’t know what to expect. Was this an elaborate hoax, involving a town’s fire department? Had arson been ruled out? How much did the owners of this historic hotel and restaurant have to do with a fire ruled spontaneous combustion?
There are many reasons for spontaneous to occur. As a former paramedic and firefighter, I felt knowledgeable on the ignition source of a fire. My rude awakening began with learning about every day fire hazards that begin by spontaneous combustion. In fact, spontaneous combustion is not automatically a paranormal event! Latex gloves are designated a fire danger by the FDA and a cause of spontaneous combustion. Cotton soaked in certain fatty oils and cleaning solvents, after being washed and placed in the dryer, can burst into flames in the dryer. The list goes on of normal explanation for things bursting into flames with and without an obvious accelerate.
In our request a plethora of apparitions, especially multiple children were reported over the years and by numerous witnesses. Stationary objects that move unassisted is a normal occurrence in the kitchen. During the lunch hour to this day, patrons eating can expect to hear children at play above them – in the abandoned apartments over their heads. Any visitor may feel the gentile tug at their skirt or pants. Or they may feel the heavy and disturbing sinister presence of being watched.
Other fires have occurred over many years. Most fires were explained, but with a touch of uncertainty. The owners felt compelled to install a large number of night vision cameras to catch the arsonist in the act. What was revealed instead was the unfathomable. There was no arsonist!
For ten years various employees placed the washed linen in the same place on the counter. The solvents used for ten years had never changed. New linen had been purchased from time to time, but not recently. The laundry was done drying at 10pm at the Diamond Springs Hotel. The linen didn't start to burn until 2:45am. The fire slowly smoldered until the fire department put it out upon arrival at about 5:25am. No shadows could be seen at any point of the night footage. At around 3:00am the fire flickered as if a person was blowing on it. However, no person was there, Nor could any person be near the fire and out of a camera’s vantage point.
In history it has been reported that people burst into flames for no reason. Before witnessing the footage of a fire starting unassisted, I could believe it. Pyro genesis seems unfathomable. Why here at this location? Was an angry spirit trying to burn down this historic hotel? Was this something more sinister?
To this day the Diamond Springs Hotel serves amazing food for its patrons. No fires have reoccurred since our investigation. The children are still heard above, playing, laughing, and throwing balls. And still there is nothing but abandoned boarding rooms above the customers.
FDA - Public Health Advisory: Potential Risk of Spontaneous Combustion
BioChem Systems - Cleaning Technology Update
The Skeptics Dictionary - Spontaneous Human Combustion