This section is from the book "The Planting, Cultivation And Expression Of Coconuts, Kernels, Cacao And Edible Vegetable Oils And Seeds Of Commerce", by H. Osman Newland. Also available from Amazon: The Planting, Cultivation And Expression Of Coconuts, Kernels, Cacao And Edible Vegetable Oils And Seeds Of Commerce.
The kernels had been stored some time in the bags, and it was the dry season. There had been a blazing sun and little breeze for several days previously during the period of loading, and so not only was the fibre of the sacking made very dry, but also it would have become more oily from the heated kernels exuding oil and there was very little chance of the heat being reduced in a closed full hold. Such oily fibre would absorb oxygen from the air very readily, and in these circumstances the temperature would rise so high as to cause oily vapours to inflame and so start the fires. The sacks showed that the fires started at the outside fibre, and not inside among the kernels, and after the fire the fibre of the sacks held from 20 to 25 per cent, of oil.