How a battery is thought to have burned down a huge electronics store

A faulty lithium-ion battery is thought to have sparked a blaze which caused hundreds of thousands of pounds damage at a major high street store.

The fierce fire swept through the Currys PC World and Carphone Warehouse store in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK, in August with flames shooting through the roof.

Dozens of firefighters were needed to bring it under control but the fire devastated the store and ruined its stock.

A source told news website ExaminerLive the fire was caused by a customer's laptop which was on charge overnight in the store. Lithium batteries which power laptops can catch fire for all sorts of reasons which can cause them to go into what is known as thermal runaway. This happens when one cell in a battery overheats it 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.

Another ExaminerLive reader said CCTV from the store had shown the fire was sparked by a laptop.

Currys did not confirm or deny the statements. The store is due to open on Valentine’s Day 2020.

Incidents of thermal runaway are on the rise.

Lithium-ion battery fires on board planes are rarely publicised but a fire in a device could emit toxic smoke and potentially the battery may even explode, causing damage to the aircraft and putting lives at risk.

AvSax – which were devised by Huddersfield company Environmental Defence Systems Ltd - are the world’s best-selling aircraft fire containment bags by far and are now on more than 15,373 aircraft operated by 75 airline companies across the world and have been used 31 times to deal with emergencies since the start of 2017.

AvSax won the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the UK in 2018.