A lithium-ion battery has cost a family their entire home.
The battery overheated in a laptop, setting fire to the family’s ‘dream home’ in a rural farming community near to Winnipeg in Canada.
It’s sadly another example of the potential dangers caused by faulty lithium-ion batteries which can spark severe blazes.
Owners Randy and Joyska Tkachyk returned home to find that all that was left of their self-built home was rubble and embers.
In an interview with CTV Winnipeg Joyska said: “It was a very tall structure and it was just gone. There was nothing there but rubble and some small flames.”
Sadly the family’s dog died in the blaze which fire inspectors said likely started when a laptop with an overheated lithium-ion battery burst into flames. Health Canada says that common lithium-ion batteries are “more susceptible to being damaged than other types of batteries” and users should take precautions when charging them.
The fire wrecked a year’s work by Randy, who began building a 1,800-square-foot addition to the original 1,100-square-foot bungalow in 2017. The family live in Piney around 80 miles from Winnipeg.
When lithium-ion batteries catch fire they often go into what is known as thermal runaway. When this happens one cell overheating in a battery can produce enough heat – up to 900°C (1652°F) – to cause adjacent cells to overheat. This can cause a lithium battery fire to flare repeatedly – sometimes even sending flames shooting out.
Incidents of thermal runaway are on the rise, particularly in the confined space of aircraft cabins where special fire containment bags such as AvSax are deployed by cabin crew to deal with fires in personal electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptops sparked by the lithium-ion batteries inside them.