More Burning Laptops – Apple to Be Sued $15,000 for Ruining Carpet?

by Reads (13,853)

Recently in Japan a Dell notebook was captured in pictures going up in flames.  But it seems Dell isn’t the only company experiencing flaming laptop woes.  According to reports, a family in Iowa may sue Apple for a laptop that melted the carpet and then erupted into flames upon being thrown outside this past April.

According to a report in the Toronto Globe and Mail, this past April the Brown family in Solon, Iowa had located to the top floor of their house when an odd popping noise and smell of smoke came from the first floor.  The mother went down to find their son’s Christmas present Apple laptop smoking and melting its way through the carpet.  Their son Nick was in the basement playing his XBox and had left the laptop unattended and sitting on the living room carpet on the first floor.  The laptop was moved outside and put on the front path where it:

“erupted in a ball of flames…the computer flared up several times on the flagstone walkway.”

The carpet the Mac melted through will cost $15,000 to replace and the Brown family is thinking about suing Apple for these damages.  Furthermore, the mother claims her son has become wary of computers and

“a charred spot on the family walkway still reminds the Browns of that (fiery) April evening”. 

So why not sue for mental and emotional damages hey?  It’s actually pretty lucky the laptop was moved in time otherwise it might have been the house that was toast and not just the carpet and walkway.

The moral of the story is, these laptop fire incidents don’t occur often, but there are 43 reports since 2001 of such things happening in the U.S so be aware.  If a laptop is in your lap and starts feeling really hot, don’t put a pillow on your lap to protect from heat (especially if you’re on a plane).  This will just aggravate the situation.  The reason for the fires is a malfunctioning battery combined with a notebook that gets way too hot.  If the battery membrane gets melted then what ensues can be dangerous, indeed fire can occur.

Keeping a laptop well ventilated is certainly the key to preventing these things, in the Apple incident above the laptop was on a carpet which would certainly cause issues.  And in the case of the Dell exploding at a conference in Osaka Japan it appears as if the notebook was on a felt table that could have blocked ventilation on the bottom.

there were no pictures taken of the exploding Mac laptop the Brown family experienced in Iowa, but it likely looked the same as the Dell notebook that exploded last month at a conference in Osaka, Japan

The bottom line is this is a very rare thing, but we can only hope it never ever happens on a plane while airborne, manufacturers should take any of these reports very seriously and do as much investigation as possible to figure out what conditions caused them to occur.

We recommend reading our notebook cooling guide as one way of combatting this issue (even though it shouldn’t be an issue).

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