Family evacuated after household objects mysteriously combust for months

By Le Hoang   January 6, 2023 | 01:51 am PT
Family evacuated after household objects mysteriously combust for months
Dinh Xuan Nam shows a spot on the wall where fire spontaneously combusts inside his house in the north central province of Thanh Hoa, January 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Son
Objects inside a house in Thanh Hoa Province have been spontaneously combusting over the past few months, forcing the family to be evacuated.

Dinh Xuan Nam, 35, and five other members of his family are currently staying at a kindergarten in Ha Linh Commune, Ha Nam District in the north central province, afraid that their home in Tien Hoa 1 Village may turn to flames, threatening their lives.

For the past few months, clothes, blankets and wooden cupboards inside the house have been spontaneously combusting for no apparent reason. The phenomenon began around March last year, and has recently become more frequent, Nam said.

"Over the past two months, things were always on fire," he said. "Sometimes it happened 14 times in one day."

The objects that caught fire included blankets, rice cookers, beds and plastic bags.

At first, Nam thought it was his children being naughty and setting things on fire. However, further observation revealed that the fires happened on their own, without any human interference. There were times when clothes put away in the closet also caught fire, even though no one touched them, he added.

One day in October last year, when Nam was away from home, his 68-year-old mother, Ha Thi Dien, was at home watching the grandchildren as they were sleeping on the bed. Suddenly the mosquito net caught fire without warning. Dien carried the children away and then called her neighbors to help put out the fire. The fire resulted in a burn on her right arm.

Eventually, Nam had to quit his job so he could stay home to guard against any mishaps that may happen. Authorities also allowed Nam's family to be evacuated to a nearby kindergarten for shelter.

Hoang Trong Tuyen, 70, Nam's neighbor, said people in the area had never witnessed such a phenomenon, and so they were all scared.

Luu Van Tan, Party secretary of Ha Linh Commune, confirmed the phenomenon of spontaneous combustion at Nam's house. The authorities have been trying to find a reason to explain the phenomenon and how to stop it, but no answer has been found so far.

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