Laptop likely cause of apartment fire – Jackson Hole News&Guide

Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2016 4:30 am

Laptop likely cause of apartment fire

By Emma Breysse
Jackson Hole Daily

Jackson Hole News&Guide

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1 comment

A charging laptop likely started Tuesday’s fire at the Aspen Meadows apartment complex, Fire Marshal Kathy Clay concluded.

Clay, who investigated the cause of the blaze that left six apartment units uninhabitable earlier this week, said that one of the occupants left a charging laptop covered up.

“An apartment occupant, having returned the night prior from an out of town trip, plugged a laptop in to recharge, and reported having clothes and bedcovers over the laptop,” a written public announcement reads. “Clay advised laptop owners to keep lithium ion batteries charging in an open space with plenty of air movement to allow for safe recharging.”

Insulating the batteries can cause them to get very hot when they’re plugged in, Clay said.

The fire, which began at around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, started in unit E91 of the complex, where it destroyed a bedroom.

Neighboring unit E90, which shares a wall, suffered “moderate” damage to one of its rooms, and four units below suffered water damage.

Residents of those apartments have not been able to return home since the fire. The American Red Cross and Community Resource Center have been assisting those people.

Friday’s announcement noted that there is no need for public donations at this time, but that may change if any of the people affected end up needing more permanent housing.

At least two families spent the night of the fire at Motel 6, which offered a reduced rate funded by the Red Cross to displaced residents.

The fire was visible outside the apartments, with flames engulfing a deck area both upper apartments share. Early on suppression efforts were complicated by 16 mph winds, Clay’s announcement said.

Flames inside the apartments also were visible through the windows.

About an hour after the fire began, Incident Commander Mike Moyer deemed the fire “under control.”

Efforts to restore and repair the damaged apartment units began the next day and were still ongoing Friday.

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