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Watch This Unattended Laptop Burn Down an Office

The HP laptop battery fire shows that you should take product recalls very seriously.

Matthew Gault

Steve Paffett left his laptop plugged in at the office overnight. The battery exploded, caught fire, and burned down the office at his plastic fabrication company. “I don’t think anywhere near enough of us are aware of the potential ‘bombs’ we have indoors,” Paffett told local newspaper The Comet. “I was sat at that seat earlier that day and I swear it would have taken my face off or killed me.”

Lithium-ion batteries are a technological marvel that power everything from laptops to electronic cigarettes. They also sometimes explode or catch fire. In 2016, Samsung had to recall it’s flagship Galaxy Note 7 because it was exploding. Despite the hazard of disfigurement or death, some users decided not to return their Note 7s.

Which is bad. As the video above shows, these battery explosions are no joke. “The ground floor is ruined,” Paffet said of his business. “All the stock is written off—luckily none of it caught fire, but it’s just covered in smoke—the whole building is filthy and reeks.” Paffet is lucky, but others haven’t been. According to The Comet, Paffet’s was using an HP Envy laptop from 2014. It appears that manufacturer HP recalled those laptops in January 2018 because they "have the potential to overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to customers."

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps a running list manufacturer recalls. It’s worth it to check in now and again to make sure your cell phone, laptop, or hoverboard aren’t ticking time bombs.