Spontaneous combustion in a flower planter

imageRecently a women called the fire dept after she noticed smoke coming from this planter on her deck. Upon closer examination it was evident that there was a lot of heat generated, melting the planter. The planter was full of soil and topped with peat moss. Moist peat moss has been known to spontaneously combust. This is also a danger with damp BBQ briquettes, and of course oily or greasy rags.

(Click image to see a larger version of the photo.)


  1. James Bickmore says:

    For the past two days, each time I walked around a certain corner of my home, I smelled what seemed to be a wood fire. I thought it might be coming from across the freeway that is on the otherside of a couple of sound walls.

    Just an hour ago, as walked by the area, I noticed a solar light was leaning to the side. As I took hold of it, I saw the the soil below it sink. I touched the soil and felt a pretty intense heat. I pulled up on the stump of an old shrub and discovered that it was heavily smoldering between a peat pot and the soil below. The shrub had originally come in a peat pot basket. Which I later transplanted to a large plastic planter. Since it was getting very over-grown, last year, I cut the shrub down near its base. I believe it was still getting a small amount of drip watering.

    I feel extremly fortunate to have found it, before it burst into flames, as it was very close to the corner of the house.

    For some reason, I thought that the peat pot would decompose into the surrounding soil. I learned a lesson here and won’t make that mistake again.

    It’s my hope that others will read this post and not do as I did.

    • Rick Jackson says:

      Thank you for your comments James! We appreciate your comments.
      We hope these articles can bring awareness to the potentially disastrous consequences from an unseen danger.