DJ’s shock as his laptop catches fire and explodes

A DJ whose laptop caught fire and exploded while he was using it fears what would have happened if it had burst into flames on a plane.

American DJ White Panda says he noticed smoke starting to spiral from his laptop so he put it down onto the floor. Seconds later it popped and caught fire.

White Panda posted a video of his burning laptop on Twitter, saying: “My MacBook Pro exploded today during normal use. No injuries, luckily. Some damage to the house. Could have been worse - good thing I wasn’t on a plane.”

The laptop was on fire for several seconds, leaving burn marks on the wooden floor beneath it.

White Panda told online music website Mashable: "It was literally like when someone throws a smoke grenade and it lands and starts shooting out all sides. Out of nowhere smoke was pouring out of both sides of the computer. It was so much smoke, so instantaneously.”

According to Mashable, White Panda took the laptop to a nearby Apple Store where he was told the laptop would need to be kept in a fireproof safe for 24 hours.

He was later told the Apple store had "escalated" the issue and he would get a response within five business days. It’s thought the laptop has been sent to Apple headquarters.

The way White Panda’s laptop erupted in flames suggests it had gone into what’s known as thermal runaway.

When this happens one cell overheating in a lithium ion 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 or even explode.

This rise in lithium battery fires is posing a particular problem in the confined space of passenger aircraft which is why cabin crew now often include in the safety briefing a warning that if passengers lose their mobile phones down seats they should alert the staff and not try to retrieve it themselves. If they do, the phone could get crushed in the seat mechanism, sparking a thermal runaway fire.

One way to tackle such incidents is to use an AvSax fire containment bag which can deal with fires in personal electronic devices and are now carried on more than 15,373 aircraft operated by 75 airline companies across the world – including some of the biggest and best-known.

AvSax  – which won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2018 - has been used 30 times to deal with emergencies since the start of 2017. Deployment is so effective that extremely expensive diversions to alternate airports are avoided.