Both of the crematories I’ve visited had recently installed a retort designed to hold larger bodies. The chamber at Gentry-Griffey Funeral Chapel can cremate people up to 1,000 pounds. As I wrote two years ago:
People who weigh more than 300 pounds present a challenge. In standard-sized cremators, it is recommended that they be cremated at the beginning of the day. The chamber should be cold so its walls can absorb the extra heat generated by the bigger bodies.
On Wednesday morning, a fellow member of the FBI Knoxville Citizens Academy Alumni Association emailed me a news story about a crematory in Graz, “Austria’s Capital of Culinary Delights.” The building caught fire when they attempted to cremate a 440-pound woman in a regular-sized cremator. The local news headline read: “Fettleibige Leiche löste Brand in Krematorium aus.”
The crematory tours were on my mind Monday when I showed some of my blog posts to someone who wanted to know more about the Body Farm. When I got home a few minutes later, I paused to pick up some twigs in the driveway. As I walked around the corner of my house to dump the twigs, I spotted something that looked like the cardboard coffins used by crematories. My mind went straight to the blog photos I had just seen. In reality, the cardboard container was an old Christmas tree box that I am supposed to take to the curb before the garbage men arrive today.