Overheating laptop sparks fire on child’s mattress – WIAT 42

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A laptop sparked a mattress fire in the bedroom of a 3-year-old child on Monday morning in Hillsboro.

Hillsboro Fire and Rescue say the apartment in the Quatama Crossing complex suffered limited damage because sprinklers had extinguished the fire.

The laptop overheated and the mattress caught fire, June 13 2016. (Hillsboro Fire)
The laptop overheated and the mattress caught fire, June 13 2016. (Hillsboro Fire)

Jeremy Palmer, his girlfriend and her 3-year-old daughter all got out of the apartment safely. Palmer’s 2 sons were not in the apartment at the time of the fire.

“And thank God for those (sprinklers) ’cause who knows how far that fire would have spread,” Palmer said.

The family was awakened by a fire alarm and escaped unharmed. They pulled the alarm for the rest of the complex to alert other residents.

Investigators say the laptop was plugged in and overheated, causing the foam top to ignite.

“Lithum ion batteries tend to generate a lot of heat,” Storm Smith with the Hillsboro Fire Department said. “And in this case, all the ventilation to that laptop was closed off by bedding and stuff.”

Palmer said the computer is usually left on a hard surface, which is what firefighters recommend. Smith also recommends extra caution when using aftermarket products.

Hillsboro Fire and Rescue advises laptop users to unplug all appliances when not in use. If charging laptops overnight, be sure to leave them on a noncombustible surface or on a cooling pad. Lithium-ion batteries are known to generate high heat when in charging cycle. 

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