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Lakeville Fire Department credits teen after laptop ignites, leading to residential fire



Photos courtesy of Lakeville Fire Department

A local fire department is crediting the quick thinking of a teen after seeing her laptop go up in flames.

According to the Lakeville Fire Department, a fire broke out at 54 Montgomery St. just before 9:00 p.m. Thursday night. The fire occurred when a laptop became overheated, causing the lithium-ion battery to go into thermal runaway.

A 17-year-old female, who was in the room at the time of the fire, reported hearing a “pop” and turned to find her computer in flames. She unplugged the computer and exited the room to get help.

A smoke alarm in the room activated soon after, causing the rest of the interconnected devices to sound the alarm. An initial 911 call from the home landline was attempted without success, but a separate call from a cell phone alerted first responders to the fire.

The fire department received notification from dispatch at 8:53 p.m. The first arriving responder made the scene 7 minutes later.

A recall of off-duty firefighters was transmitted, enabling the response of Engine 2, Tanker 1, Tower Ladder 1, Car 2, and Car 1. During the time it took first responders to arrive, family members used bedding to smother the fire.

Firefighters arrived to smoke venting from the home. Firefighters entered the home and removed the laptop, bedding, and a mattress. The battery burned with such intensity that the fire quickly burned downward into the mattress.

Firefighters used a handline outside of the home to fully extinguish the fire. Crews went on to ventilate the home, metering the home to confirm safe air quality. Crews used thermal imaging devices to check for any extension of the fire and none was found. When the home was made safe, it was released back to the family.

Due to the danger of reignition, the laptop and the battery were taken back to the fire station and placed in a container to contain the hazard.

A family cat named “Thomas” knew what to do in the event of a fire and evacuated the area. Unfortunately, Thomas is an indoor cat, and the family was fearful that he was lost to them. The Lakeville Fire Department reported however that Thomas was located and is safe and sound.

Department members commended the quick thinking of the teen who first reacted to the fire.

“Her quick action likely prevented a small fire from becoming a large loss incident.”

Members of the department recommend that laptops be stored on a hard surface to allow for proper ventilation and cooling.

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