Is it natural and correct to say the fire happened on its own meaning it wasn't made intentionally by someone? For example:

What we know for sure is that the fire happened on its own.

If it's not natural, what would a native English speaker would say?

  • A fire can start/break out/go out/blaze/burn/rage... Jan 1, 2021 at 15:56
  • What we know for sure is that the fire was spontaneous - or more "properly", The cause of the fire was spontaneous combustion / ignition. Native speakers wouldn't often use happened on its own of something like a fire / blaze, but started isn't quite so bad. Jan 1, 2021 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


I think one normally would say:

The fire started on its own.

You can check Gngram for words that are commonly used in such a word order.

Another way of expressing this is:

The fire was not lit deliberately.


The fire was not an arson.

I found these examples on the greenpeace.org site. However, my last two examples are a bit far from your sentence, and I am not sure if you are more interested in the form of your sentence or in the meaning you wish to convey.

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