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Old 24 December 2016, 02:39 AM
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thorny locust thorny locust is offline
Join Date: 27 April 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 9,913

Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
That would only make sense if they'd been gone for a month or something. If they'd been home all that time using the basement, I just would have expected someone to notice that the potatoes were starting to rot and thrown them out before things reached that level. .
Basements vary, and so do people's sanitation standards. Some people turn the cellar out all at once in spring. Cold climate fruit and vegetable cellars may be most easily emptied out through an outside door that may be blocked by snow in winter -- especially if we're talking about bulk bins holding multiple hundreds of pounds. (Shovelling the snow out of the way, in addition to being extra work, reduces insulation that may be keeping other things stored in the basement from freezing.)

Again, I don't think most people have anywhere near enough potatoes in the house to produce the effect, even presuming that potatoes in an ordinary state of rot will do so. But it's possible that some people do.

I don't have any idea whether this specific incident happened; and I don't think anyone needs to go in terror of their five-pound or fifty-pound bag of potatoes. But it is certainly possible for multiple people to die because of gases given off by plant materials stored in enclosed spaces.

ETA: Em, do you have a link to a non-video version?
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