Thursday, January 22, 2009

Macabre, but amusing



In the news of the amazing and weird, a flaming squirrel was responsible for the loss of a middle school in Jones Oklahoma. An Oklahoma television station reports the story as follows: "Firefighters: Flaming Squirrel To Blame In Jones Wildfire, Students Moved From Elementary To High School". What happened was that the squirrel touched two power lines at the same time and caused an electrical short circuit. The flaming squirrel fell to the ground and I assume that it lit dry brush, igniting the school. The fire also destroyed a few trailers. Luckily, nobody but the squirrel was injured.

Interestingly, squirrel related fires are not uncommon. To determine this, I Googled the phrase "squirrel causes fire" and received results of several recent fires attributed to self immolation among squirrels. Not only that, the phenomenon seems to be quite universal within the states and in England. It even appears on a story in "This American Life" (check around minute 19 to hear a story about a cop trying to catch a flaming squirrel). Apparently, the squirrels can chew through power lines, in houses, cars, or high voltage wires causing electrical outages, and accidentally starting fires.

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