Feeds

Blazing laptop of death claims one

Computer conflagration kills Canadian

The essential guide to IT transformation

A laptop left running on a sofa started a fire which killed a 56-year-old Canadian man.

The Coroner's Service of British Columbia has not released the victim's name but has revealed that he died six months ago. The machine was left on a couch, which caused the battery to overheat and the fire to start. The coroner did not give out the brand of machine, but did issue a general warning on kit which uses lithium-ion batteries.

The Coroner's Office said it was aware of four previous incidents involving fires started by laptops since 2004, but confirmed that this was the first fatality. It was also aware of 15 fires caused by other electronic equipment, including mobile phone chargers, PCs and DVD players.

This incident happened in February and the fire took hold within 50 minutes.

The Coroner's Office, along with the Fire Commissioner, issued the following advice:

Always operate on a hard surface that allows ventilation. Soft materials can block the airflow vents and cause it to overheat. If it is not possible to avoid using a soft surface, an optional heat-sink base should be used to maintain cooling.

Always shut down your laptop, even for short periods of time, especially when placed in a carry bag.

Inspect and clean the air vents on a weekly basis. Forced-air dusters can be used to keep the vents clean and free from debris.

Replace any equipment or parts that do not work according to manufacturer specifications and standards.

Using a laptop desk or cooler will prevent you from being burned when using your laptop. A good laptop desk will have large enough vents for allowing air circulation between you and the laptop.

Visit the Health Canada recall listings website at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/index-eng.php or call 1-866-662-0666 to see if a laptop you own, or if you are considering purchasing a second-hand or rebuilt model, has been recalled.

Review the manufacturers’ website for additional safety tips and recommended maintenance.

Laptops do often struggle to cool themselves properly because they're more densely packed than the average desktop. But this usually results in a sudden shutdown rather than a fire. The full statement is here, as a pdf. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Leak: Intel readies next round of NUC
Cheap boxen to get a refresh
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?