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Poster Handle Anonymous Coward
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I worked on a major rail road in maintenance.
I have seen grinding equipment repair the rail head profile.
The sparks fly off like water from a high pressure hose.
Those showers of sparks do not ignite the creosoted ties
unless some sparks manage to get into cracks of older ties
and get to the center that may be rotted. The creosote is
injected into the ties and may not always get to the center.

Even old solid oak would be hard to ignite unless hot embers
or molten lead got to rotten parts of the wood. There would
be fumes to set off smoke alarms but there not be flames
for quite a while.

You ask, if the wood has a rotten core, why do the beams not collapse?
On the railroad there is a bridge inspector. A bridge inspection of
bridge timbers allow some degree timber rot in the center without
sacrificing the timbers strength.

I have worked above beams in old buildings and encountered thick
layers of dust. I wonder how thick the dust layer was on the church beams?
The dust could contribute to the ignition of the wood.

I am speculating on the cause of the fire from personal experience
if it was truly an accident. It is unfortunate that there is
legitimate speculation that the fire was deliberately set.
 Quoting: Idaho Bullwinkle

Is this a cut/paste? Its written in first person but the format indicates it was copied from somewhere else.
 Quoting: Billy Ringo

Yes. It is first person.
I retired from a major railroad 3 years ago.
Maybe my education in the '60s and early '70 is an indication of better writing skills than those
indoctrinated in the current government school system.
It is not cut and pase.
I wrote this from scratch a few minutes ago.
 Quoting: Idaho Bullwinkle

good info. And accurate.

Problem is... French GOVERNMENT won't admit we are at war. Don't know what they are waiting for. If they are waiting for Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and just fighting hundreds of "lone wolves" then we will die of 1000 cuts.
 Quoting: MissCleo

" unless hot embers 
or molten lead got to rotten parts of the wood."

I worked around molten lead in open pots. As one ton blocks melt they often pop as pockets of water are hit. Drops of lead fly and hit your arms and face. First time you think you are burnt, but it only leaves a red spot as you react and pick a spot of cold lead off your arm. Lead is an extremely poor conductor of heat. It cools almost instantly.
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