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