How Does Cremation Work?

Cremation is the process of heating remains to a temperature between 1,400 and 1,800 ºF to reduce them to their basic elements. An increasing number of cemeteries near Oakland are offering cremation because it honors the life of the deceased while giving families the freedom to decide how and where to store or scatter the remains. Continue reading for an overview of how cremation works.

Location of Cremation

Cremation takes place in a cremation chamber, which is also known as a retort, inside of a crematory. The chamber is preheated to a certain temperature first, and then the body is placed into the chamber through a mechanized door to minimize heat loss. Before the body is placed in the chamber, however, pacemakers and other mechanical devices are removed from the body to prevent an explosion.


Powered by natural gas, oil, or propane, the furnace inside the chamber produces a column of flames that incinerate the body. The gases created during the cremation process are discharged through the chamber’s exhaust system. There is typically no smell, because the smoke and gases are processed by the exhaust system.

Collection of Remains

The result of the incineration process is that the body is reduced to bone fragments and skeletal remains. These remains are collected into a tray or pan and allowed to cool. After cooling, technicians will use magnets and forceps to remove non-consumed metal objects, such as the parts of the cremation container, dental work, surgical screws, implants, and so on. The entire cremation process takes one to three hours.

Cremation is an ideal end-of-life option for many families. Many people who opt for cremation services also plan a funeral ceremony for the deceased. For help in planning a cremation ceremony for your loved one, contact Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland at (510) 992-6984.