Whenever a home goes up in flames, investigators usually sift through the evidence in order to uncover whether arson or mechanical failures were to blame.
One year-long case in England is problematizing this standard approach.
In Haxby, York, the body of a 63-year-old man named Paul Wilmott was discovered three meters from his house underneath dirt and debris. A subsequent inquest pointed to a fractured skull and a brain injury as the cause of death.
Furthermore, as for the explosion of Mr. Wilmott’s home, a combination of water-logging and formic acid produced what Dr. Elizabeth Grear has termed “stress corrosion cracking.”
However, Dr. Grear also noted something bizarre–the presence of a large ant’s nest.
Due to recent flooding in the area, the nest likely migrated near the home’s copper pipes. Once there, organic acids produced by the ants (including formic acid) began eating away at the copper.
Tragically, the deep corrosion caused by the ant nest may have provided the final spark needed for the random explosion.
While the idea of killer ants blowing up houses may sound funny and absurd, first responders initially thought that the damage had been caused by a plane crash. Clearly, such devastation is no laughing matter.
So, next time there is heavy rain in your area, check the ground for ants.
Featured image via: The Daily Mirror