The body burned at a higher temperature than usual, causing the flames to spread (file photo) iStock

A routine cremation at a Cincinnati funeral home took an unexpected turn when flames from an "overly obese" body spread, starting an unscheduled fire.

The "freak accident" took place at the Hillside Chapel Crematory in Ohio's third-largest city on Wednesday (26 April) night.

"My operator was in the process of cremating remains and [the body] was overly obese and apparently it got a little hotter than the unit is supposed to get," owner Don Catchen told WCPO.

"One of the cremation containers that we had close got caught on fire and that's what burnt," he added. The fire also spread to surrounding roof material.

Firefighters tackled the blaze for two hours. Cincinnati Fire Chief Michael Washington said: "We believe there were some combustible storage boxes that were too close to the ovens."

Fortunately for Catchen, his business is fine and there is no lasting damage. "The containers that we use – that we have to place the remains in to cremate them – that's the only thing that's burnt," he said.

Catchen added that his crematorium is well protected in case of a fire. The business is run by Catchen Family Funeral Homes and it is reportedly the oldest one operating in the US, according to

The blaze caused damages estimated to be in the region of $30,000 (£23,300).