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HP laptop explodes during overnight charging and burns down a Letchworth store

The Allplas store in Letchworth caught fire when a HP laptop exploded. (Source: The Comet)
The Allplas store in Letchworth caught fire when a HP laptop exploded. (Source: The Comet)
The ground floor of a tarpaulin store in Letchworth was destroyed when a HP laptop that was left for overnight charging exploded. The explosion and subsequent spreading of flames was caught on a CCTV camera and while there were no luckily no casualties in the incident, it does serve to remind us of the latent danger in leaving devices to charge overnight.

A HP laptop that was left for overnight charging exploded in a store in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, England causing considerable damage to property. The incident left the owner of the store wondering about the "potential bombs" that power our day-to-day lives. 

Steve Paffett is the owner of Allplas — a tarpaulin and netting specialist store in Letchworth. On the night of March 23, he was suddenly woken up from his sleep when the work intruder alarm went off. Upon checking the CCTV app on his phone, to his horror (and ours) he found the footage of the ground floor of his store going ablaze following an explosion in his HP Envy laptop, which he had left to charge overnight before heading home.

To my horror I was watching a bonfire on my office desk. I thought ‘what am I going to do?’ It was awful.", local newspaper The Comet quoted him as saying. Luckily local authorities were quick to spring into action to douse the flames and cordon off the area. Paffett was given some insurance payment to enable him to at least continue the business but the stock in the ground floor has been written off. Luckily, they weren't engulfed in the flames but had smoke all over them. 

Following the incident, Paffett warned users about the potential latent danger in leaving Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries on continuous charge. “I don’t think anywhere near enough of us are aware of the potential ‘bombs’ we have indoors. I was sat at that seat earlier that day and I swear it would have taken my face off or killed me.” he said. 

HP is yet to comment on the incident but the OEM did recall many of its batteries last year — 101,000 to be exact — after they were found to be defective. Paffett's laptop is a 2014 HP Envy model and does figure in HP's recall program, which was applicable for units purchased between 2013 and 2016.

We do not know whether Paffett was aware of HP's battery recall program but this incident does raise questions on how OEMs should ensure more effective means of information dissemination, especially, for the majority population that does not frequent tech sites.


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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - Managing Editor - 1603 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
Though a cell and molecular biologist by training, I have been drawn towards computers from a very young age ever since I got my first PC in 1998. My passion for technology grew quite exponentially with the times, and it has been an incredible experience from being a much solicited source for tech advice and troubleshooting among family and friends to joining Notebookcheck in 2017 as a professional tech journalist. Now, I am a Lead Editor at Notebookcheck covering news and reviews encompassing a wide gamut of the technology landscape for Indian and global audiences. When I am not hunting for the next big story or taking complex measurements for reviews, you can find me unwinding to a nice read, listening to some soulful music, or trying out a new game.
contact me via: @Geeky_Vaidy
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 03 > HP laptop explodes during overnight charging and burns down a Letchworth store
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2018-03-29 (Update: 2018-03-29)