Feeds

Blazing laptop of death claims one

Computer conflagration kills Canadian

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
Top Gun display for your CAR: Heads-up fighter pilot tech
Sadly Navdy kit doesn't include Sidewinder missile to blast traffic
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Things are looking up in Flappy Bird sequel
'Swing Copters' offers the same gameplay but in a different direction
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.