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.

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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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> 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)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.