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Laptop battery likely cause of fatal house fire

TT/David Landes · 3 Dec 2009, 11:33

Published: 03 Dec 2009 11:33 GMT+01:00

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The investigation conducted by Sweden’s National Forensic Laboratory of Forensic Science (Statens kriminaltekniska laboratorium – SKL) indicates that the fire probably started in a laptop computer which in turn ignited a couch.

However, representatives from the Lund police department added at a Thursday press conference that they aren’t 100 percent certain about the theory, adding there was nothing to suggest the fire was deliberately set.

"It was simply a tragic accident,” said detective Per Wejsfelt, according to the TT news agency.

The fire, which broke out in the early hours of September 2nd, claimed the lives of a 27-year-old woman and her four children. The oldest three children were nine, seven, and five years old, while the youngest victim was only ten months old.

The mother and three of the children were found dead at the scene, while the 5-year-old was taken to hospital, but later died from her injuries.

According to Wejsfelt, the most likely scenario behind the fire was an overheating of the laptop caused by a short circuit in the computer’s battery. The computer then set fire to the couch, with flames eventually spreading up the walls to the ceiling.

“There’s no other conceivable cause for the fire. No remnants of candles, no trace of flammable liquids,” said Wejsfelt.

Damage to the house wasn’t overly extensive. All of the victims died from inhaling smoke and poisonous gases.

Story continues below…

They were found in various parts of the house, and none of the victims were found in their beds when emergency personnel arrived on the scene.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:01 December 3, 2009 by crunchy2k
hey its a Nim kida battery that is being forced down our thoaths....unlike aaa or d size and maybe aa standard batteries,....the plastic fantastic polymer batteries suck and explosed in bad situations.,
13:30 December 3, 2009 by Rick Methven
The moral of this sad story is that you should never leave your laptop plugged into the mains when you are not using it.

You not only risk a fire but you will also risk damaging the battery as a lot of laptops do not have a good overcharge protection.
15:29 December 3, 2009 by Eric Cantona
Possibly the most tragic story of the year.

No need to preach on which batteries etc. Surely the key is to have functioning fire alarms.
20:13 December 3, 2009 by laura ka baal
I dont bekieve in this story its just diversion of mind thinking us to be fool.
08:03 December 4, 2009 by Marc the Texan
I never unplug my laptop. I use it like a desktop. And I keep it running almost 24/7.
10:21 December 4, 2009 by Rick Methven
"I never unplug my laptop. I use it like a desktop. And I keep it running almost 24/7"

1. check the manual re overcharge protection.

2. see if the time that you can use the laptop on battery has gone down.

There is a memory effect on all battery types whatever the blurb says.

3. buy a fire alarm
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