Couple dies in their South Carolina home with a broken heater at 1,000 degrees

  • pre-heat the oven between 170° to 200°F.
  • It should take between 3-8 hours to dry in the oven depending on the thickness of the jerky.

I can’t imagine how a hot water heater could get that hot, even if they managed to disable all the safety features.

Mythbusters did just that and they blew up the tank.

What a way to die. Seems like the family members should have checked in sooner since they knew they were having trouble with the heat.

Back in 2010 my wife was in our laundry room, she called me in because she heard a strange noise. I opened the closet where the water tank was, it was a bizarre sound but I thought to open a couple hot water faucets. It wasn’t enough, the tank burst seconds later.

Cool sound, just a really big pop.

The pressure release valve and the thermostat failed. I shutter to think what would have happened if we weren’t home and I hadn’t relieved what pressure I did.

Was a big mess, many gallons of really hot water everywhere. The plumber couldn’t believe it.


Once it’s dry inside, the water heater might have very little protection. On your usual benchtop kettle, the thermistor that switches off the kettle when it boils needs to be submerged to correctly detect the heat. If the kettle is empty, you’ll melt the kettle before the thermistor kicks in.

Good thinking!


Well, a medium rare steak is 131-ish F. Cooking sous vide you use water at the final temperature you want the food to finish at (so, 131-ish for a MR steak). The time variable is used initially to ensure that the same temperature is reached all the way through (generally no more than a couple hours for a very thick roast) and secondarily to allow enzymes to naturally break down the protein.

So, yeah, it sounds like they were cookin’. Though, to be fair, it would’ve been a far slower process because air is a poor medium for thermal transfer as compared to water. But still. :nauseated_face:

1 Like

Reading the article (very confusing) don’t believe it was the hot water heater that had the main issue. They refer to a heater (which I am assuming is the main house heat) which could be a furnace, but in this case more likely hydronic (boiler) or electric heat. Not sure which is more likely in SC, but, in theory, if it was hydronic heat, and the boiler was emptied of water, and it was an old boiler without electronic controls…then yeah, the boiler could maybe heat up to those temps and maybe conduct the heat through the pipes. If the house was small enough, then the radiant heat from the boiler essentially melting down could heat up the house pretty high, but one would think something would have caught on fire first.
If it was electric (baseboard) heat, then, depending on the size of the house…maybe; but seems very unlikely as it would have been limited by the electricity it could draw through the circuit.


A hotel I used to work at, shortly after I quit following a change of ownership, had a guy die in the hot tub. The news reported how he had been found when the night guy went to lock up the pool.

Now, I know who was working second shift, and I know for a fact that that guy never once checked the cameras or went anywhere near the pool. So, I figure there was a definite chance the guy had been dead in that hot tub for anywhere up to nine hours.

Bon appetite.


I just know what happens to a pork roast left in the Crockpot for too long…gross!!!


Well, when you need the empirical results to do something theory said wasn’t going to work out, I guess you found your friend to phone in that family? Would you need to call them an even number of times in order to abolish side-effects, their work jumping airgapping and other failsafes? You’ll look fondly back on it as the time you ignited the _____in a fissile way but fixed it in time.

Now I know how to get rid of a bed bug infestation.

1 Like

Very much the most common heaters i saw down there were “open combustion/natural draft” natural gas furnaces with mediocre efficiency (80% or so).
I don’t recall seeing any hydronic units. Not saying they don’t exist, of course.
I hope this ends up getting a follow up post. It’s very curious.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.