How long does it take to die from being burned alive?

  • Hi my names Hayley I’m 22 and about 11 months ago I almost burned to death. I was trapped in a house fire with 5 other people. When I woke up in the house my first thought was not about my own self but instead the others in the house. I tried to run to help them to no avail. I did not feel the fire or smoke until after I tried getting out myself. As soon as I stepped foot into the living room it felt as if someone had thrown a bucket of acid directly on my face. the screams that left my body were enough to terrify someone. I remember being focused on how bad my face hurt but my thought process was to get out of the house. After awhile of searching the walls for a door I fell down unable to go on. I would not wish that pain on anyone. I truly felt as if all my skin was melting off. But after I collapsed the pain had passed all my nerves were burned to the point of not working. While laying there as the pain left the fear left I was okay in that moment I accepted that that was going to be my last moment alive I knew what was happening and I was at peace enough to let go. I had a seizure right before being pulled out so I thought I had truly died you can imagine my shock when I opened my eyes to the outside world while being put into an ambulance. I don’t remember feeling pain at that point I was more concerned about all the lifeless bodies being pulled out around me. I was the coldest I’ve ever been in my life I don’t remember looking at my body while I payed there only focused on the lifeless 11 year old next to me. I passed out in the ambulance and woke up about a month later in the hospital to a new reality. I got burned 60–70 % of my body and lost 6 fingers due to the damage. I was in the hospital for exactly four months, if were being honest I’d have gone through the fire again vs being in the hospital. The healing process and the surgeries are enough to break a persons sanity. The fire will be the hardest thing I’ve had to go through and over come but I’m doing it. Rest In Peace Robert and Jalen.

    While your body may not fully DIE for some time, your brain will be able to tell within 20–30 seconds that death is imminent (you will black out after only a few seconds, but your brain will not have decided on ‘death’, yet), and it will shut down all consciousness and voluntary nerve messages so to save itself from going mad. Then your body will burn up without your brain knowing about it. You can look that up in a neurology textbook from the library.

    After recovering from my death, I couldn’t remember anything from a few months before. All of that was still in the short-term memory, so that was …

    It depends on many factors, including how hot the fire is, how much heat/flames are breathed in, the person’s ability/inability to deal with the unimaginable pain, etc. When it comes to survival, humans are extraordinarily capable of enduring unimaginable injuries without dying and sometimes without losing conciousness.

    The answer to your question regarding burning in “normal conditions” (e.g. Not standing in front of a rocket engine or thermonuclear explosion) is minutes to never. Death is most likely to come from suffocation (from fluid in the lungs) or later infection, and less likely to occur from “cooking” to death, as one might expect.

    How do I know this? Because I’ve seen people burn to death, and its got to be one of the worst ways to suffer in this life… So, if you can avoid it, I highly recommend NOT dying by fire.

    Unless you have a strong stomach and are reasonably confident that you won’t be scared for life, I can’t recommend it, but if you want to see what burning alive actually looks like, visit The Real Faces of Death Pictures and Videos and use the search tool to find what you’re looking for. Also, when you think your life is going terrible and could never be worse, just watch a few of those videos… I bet you’ll realize that you have it pretty damn good.

    From the inside or the outside?

    Speed of death from being burned alive is largely dependent on the size of the fire. Those involved in a public burning with several people would probably die from breathing carbon monoxide before the flames got them.

    A smaller fire could last a long time. As long as the fire didn’t get up to your head, you’d die from the damage done and the body’s response to fire damage. You could last hours before dying from blood loss or organ failure.

    If fuels are poured over the victim then the death is usually within a minute or so due to breathing in the fumes and smoke. The pain and trauma often causes the person to pass out within a minute and death follows soon after.

    In ancient times, capital punishment was horrific (still is). In ancient Egypt, and surrounding areas, they might pour molten lead down your throat as punishment. This causes massive burning damage to any nearby internal organs, but you could live for several minutes depending on the amount poured.

    Any death at the hands of someone else is horrific. “one of the most horrible deaths one can imagine” How about buried alive, torture or being skinned alive, starvation or a slow, drawn out illness? I’m sure being boiled alive was no picnic either. 😛

    When I was 12 I had an accident at school. We were heating crude oil in order to break it down into other stuff. Anyway the test tube exploded and the oil burst over my neck and face, my blazer was on fire and I remember running towards the water taps in the lab , I must have been in pain but the shock and adrenaline must have kicked in because I just remember trying to get to the taps. Then the pain kicked in while I sort of relaxed under the running tap and then, bloody hell, the pain really came through. The oil was 400 degrees Celsius when it hit me

    By “worse” do you mean more painful, more terrifying, or leaving behind a more disturbing corpse? Because human ingenuity has brought us flaying, impaling, crucifixion, dismemberment fast and slow, disembowelment, quartering, and fire torture, in which you are spot-burned so the agony is prolonged for hours or days.

    Not to mention the natural tormentors, like cancer, Ebola, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and other diseases of deterioration and loss of function.

    But in another sense, death is death. It is the END of the terror and agony. Therefore death can be sweeter to the person who is longing for release from torment.

    It wouldn’t take long to suffocate if the fire was consuming like being burned at the stake. You’d likely pass out before you felt your skin peel off. If you pour gasoline over your head and light it you’d pass out in less than a minute because your lungs would sear in the extreme heat and no more oxygen would enter your bloodstream. The maximum you’d live is five minutes, but you’d pass out from shock and pain long before that.

    Horrendous, I won’t go into detail because of how gruesome it was, But I did respond to a call where a person lit himself on fire in a car and was still alive and conscious when we arrived 3 minutes after we received the call. His screams were the worst thing I have ever heard (every other call I was on for this type of situation, the person was either dead or unconscious when we arrived, we had a string of these in the late 80’s). It was the first and only time I ever puked on a call. If someone is dead set on killing themselves, There are much less painful ways to do it. I truly hope your question is just out of curiosity and not because your considering it. If you are, please call a helpline or see a Doctor because I cannot imagine a worse way to go. If you need to talk to someone, please let me know and I’ll help in any way I possibly can.

    What is the least likely cause of death in a fire?

    Being trampled to death by the herd of fleeing unicorns.

    The smoke normally hits them first, I had a friend who died in a house fire 2 weeks ago, I was told he looked like burnt charcoal

    not sure when cooking say 40 minutes, home at approx 9.40 found at 11.40 on his table with his arms and head on the table, no longer alive , USE THE Microwave DONT cook and FRY. Please

    Those who were at ground zero in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were dead before their bones hit the ground. Compared to the ones left alive with their skin falling off and organs destroyed by radiation they were “lucky”. You sound like someone who should volunteer to be burned alive for science.

    I would most definitely say being flayed (skinned alive).

    Anyone can imagine the horrific pain of this procedure. I imagine it would feel significantly worse than a 1000 skin-peeling scrapes on grainy pavement. The stinging sensation would be absolutely unbearable.

    The dermis (the deeper layer of the skin) contains most of the nerve endings in the skin and to think about a knife slitting right through that layer and severing nerves across all major regions of the body is just cringe-inducing. The skin is our first defense mechanism against infection and harmful bacteria. Eventually, some nasty microscopic entity will infest in the victim’s exposed flesh and become housing for an infectious colony. The itching would probably add to the stinging and possible shivering due to temperature susceptibility. Itching it for relief wouldn’t be possible because you would be scratching your own flesh and making it worse causing more pain. What a vicious cycle.

    The thing about being burned alive is that the fire would fry much of the nerve endings and the victim would possibly die quicker (depending how big the fire is). Being left to die in not even your own skin is absolutely the most vulnerable way to go out. If I had to choose, I’d rather be blasted with fire. That’s just me though.


    Structure and Function of the Skin – Skin Disorders – Merck Manuals Consumer Version

    Google Images

    Since people who have died from it have rarely, if ever, reported back, I will have to tell you that the people I’ve watched die from burns found them to be indescribably painful; But the pain is not what you’d think. The worst burns – third degree – are rarely painful. These are the black, charred areas of major burn victims. That’s mainly because the burn is so deep the nerves are dead. But the skin does contract and if it’s over your ribcage and abdomen it will tighten to the point you will not be able to breath. At which point the burned skin must be cut to allow inhalation. The surrounding 1st and 2nd degree burns hurt. A LOT. In addition, severely burned patients often have lung damage from breathing flame and superheated air. The lungs fill with fluids, eventually removing your ability to breathe by essentially drowning you as your lungs weep intracellular fluid into your alveoli. Your body loses much of it’s ability to control fluids – the skin is your largest organ, and it does a LOT more than keep your innards in.

    The movie trope of people being completely covered in flame running around (enabled by lots of nomex and other protective clothing, and artfully set aflame for best effect on-camera) is probably the most merciful in that it is relatively quick, if not painless. They are not going to run for very far – mostly a few staggering steps, if that. Doing a Denethor running to the end of the cliff – a good 1/4 mile in a straight line – ain’t happening as a human torch. Shock and loss of consciousness sets in quickly and death follows soon after.

    So, not a pleasant end either way.

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