This section is from the book "Amateur Work Magazine Vol6". Also available from Amazon: Amateur Work.
A peculiar case of spontaneous combustion is described in Cassier's Magazine by S. E. Wowell, who says that on February 17, 1906, two large refrigerator cars of young rose bushes were received at Hannibal, Missouri, from a nursery in California, for cold storage and general distribution throughout the surrounding country. They were shipped in wooden cases containing numerous auger holes for ventilation, and they were carefully packed with wet sphagnum, or California swamp moss, to prevent chafing and to support their vitality. No ice was put in the cooling tanks, and the covers of these, as well as all other openings in the cars, were closed as tightly as possible. The cars were ten days in transit. The outside temperature was 60° F. at the start, and 158 at the end of the trip. Upon arrival, steam was issuing from every crevice of the cars. On removing the tank covers, it rushed out in large volumes. The doors were opened and the ice was put in the tanks; the free circulation of cold air then soon cooled the contents of the cars. In unloading it was discovered that some of the two upper layers of boxes were badly damaged by heat, which naturally was the most intense near the top of the cars. No signs of actual combustion were found, but this would probably have occurred in a short time had not the cars been quickly cooled. The temperature must have been nearly up to the burning point, as many of the green steins of the plants were black and brittle.