Crematorium mishap sends cloud of human remains floating over Southern California, fire captain says


An accident at a San Diego County crematorium Thursday sent a cloud of smoke containing human remains into the air outside, according to a fire captain.

The incident was reported at 12:15 p.m. at the Cortez Family Crematorium in National City, California, according to KGTV

National City Fire Captain Brian Krebs said that an oven door failed to close while the furnace was in use. This resulted in heavy smoke containing human remains being sent out of the chimney and doors of the building.

Krebs confirmed that there were human ashes in the smoke.

A witness said the plume of smoke traveled toward a shopping center. He described the smoke as having a "mint smell." Fire officials said an extinguishing agent was likely responsible for the smell.

KGTV spoke with Rick Hank, who said he was a the crematorium operator. Hank denied that there were human remains in the smoke and said it was impossible for the ashes to leave the system.

The San Diego Air Pollution Control District said there was no public health risk from the smoke.

Watch KGTV's report below:


About the Author:

Brian is an Associate Producer for ClickOnDetroit. He graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a degree in Journalism and Screen Studies.