Laptop battery likely cause of fatal house fire

An overheated laptop battery was the likely cause of a house fire which killed a mother and her four young children in Staffanstorp in southern Sweden in early September.

Laptop battery likely cause of fatal house fire

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.

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.

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Stockholm firefighters tackle bus depot blaze

Emergency services in Stockholm were continuing on Tuesday morning to tackle a fire that started in a bus depot almost 24 hours earlier.

Stockholm firefighters tackle bus depot blaze
File photo of a fire engine in Stockholm: Pontus Lundahl / TT

The fire, which began at around 10.30am on Monday, is likely to cause problems with traffic diversions and irregular public transport throughout Tuesday, according to SL, the company which runs the capital city's public transport.

“It's still burning and we don't know yet how long we will need to be there. Probably the whole day,” said Hans Eriksson from the Stockholm fire service. “Now we are concentrating on protecting the other surrounding buildings.”

The fire began in connection with work on the roof of the building, which contains a large bus depot and the connected offices.

Eriksson said: “It's an old building with a roof built in a complicated way and construction work, so we haven't wanted to sent people up to the roof and fight the fire from within. That's another reason it's taken longer.”

No buses are reported damaged as most of the fleet were on Stockholm's roads at the time of the fire.

Police have opened an investigation into carelessness endangering of the public.