(5-Jan-10) The B.C Coroners Services (BCCS) issued a safety bulletin last August about leaving laptop computers running on soft surfaces such as couches. The warning came in the wake of an investigation into a tragic incident with a Hewlett-Packard laptop.
In B.C.’s first fatality attributed to a laptop fire, a 56-year-old Vancouver man died of smoke inhalation when a laptop manufactured by HP overheated and caught fire within 50 minutes of being left on a couch, plugged in and turned on.
“The sofa’s cushioning was soft enough that the computer’s pegs at the bottom didn’t support the device and blocked the air vents,” says Jeff Dolan, director of regional operations at the BCCS.
In the course of the investigation, the BCCS learned that several makes of laptops have been recalled in recent years due to problems with lithium-ion batteries overheating and bursting into flames.