Friday, June 10, 2005


Guilty snigger

A house fire that occurred on Jan. 16 in Nagata Ward, Kobe, was caused by cats urinating on a fax machine, the city's fire department said Thursday.

According to the department, the thermal printer head of the machine was extensively burned, and members of the household told the department their nine cats often urinated on the machine.

In an experiment using the same model machine, the department dripped a sample of 0.5 milliliters of urine on the printer head's nine elements, which were spaced 0.5 millimeters apart. The first droplet conducted the electrical current, and by the 15th, the machine produced a spark.

An official of the National Research Institute of Fire and Disaster said, "Cat urine contains salt, and salt water conducts electricity well. This probably caused the fire."

Cats caused house fire by urinating on fax
The Yomiuri Shimbun, 10th June, 2005

The deadly symmetry: nine cats, nine elements; the signs were all there...

Even if this were my own house, I think I'd still be laughing. Those pesky cats, you have to love them.


Reuters had this to say on the matter:

Cats use fax as toilet, spark house fire

TOKYO (Reuters) - Two kittens picked the wrong place to relieve themselves when they urinated on a fax machine, sparking a fire that extensively damaged their Japanese owner's house.

Investigators in the western city of Kobe have concluded that the fire in January was caused by a spark generated when the urine soaked the machine's electrical printing mechanism.

The fire damaged the kitchen and living room before it was put out by the house's owner, who was treated for mild smoke inhalation, said Masahito Oyabu, a fireman at the Nagata fire station in central Kobe.

The kittens quickly ran to safety, he added.

"If you have a cat, or a dog for that matter, be careful where they urinate," Oyabu said. "Especially keep them away from electrical appliances and wires."

So, slthough the Yomiuri article implicates nine cats in the fax-peeing incident, I guess these two were the ringleaders.
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