Another Dell Laptop Ablaze!

Incendiary photo evidence of a Dell laptop fire has thrown an extra log on the fire of Dell’s woes.

A Dell laptop’s battery caught on fire in a company’s IT department this week, burning a hole right through the casing. Nearby techs used fire extinguishers to put out the blaze. Employee Henrik took pictures to document the affair and uploaded them to the Toms Hardware message boards.

“The police department showed up. The entire lower floor was allowed to leave early and as we stood there in front of the building we simply couldn’t resist… we jokingly called the engineer a terrorist as he was being asked a few questions by the friendly officer,” writes Henrik.

Is that the smell of a recall wafting through the air?

Oodles more awesome laptop burning photos after the jump…

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Comments

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  1. Hawkins says:

    Well, I live the smell of burning hardware as much as the next guy… but I’d like to know if this battery was a cheesy aftermarket replacement battery. You know, the kind with the plutonium and whatnot in ‘em.

    The article doesn’t say, and the author probably wouldn’t know anyway, since it doesn’t seem to have been his laptop.

  2. BostonBum says:

    Never thought I’d be so happy that my company uses these crummy Thinkpads. BTW, isn’t it spelled “laptop?” I notice that the “IIs” has been fixed though — gotta get a spell check going on these posts.

  3. Ben Popken says:

    Sorry, our battery burned through the P.

  4. A_B says:

    The last couple of laptops I recommended to people were Dells. Not anymore. I don’t know the statistics, and I’m sure this problem is probably pretty rare, but who needs the grief or even the minimal risk? Especially when Thinkpads (and other laptops) get such high marks from various reviewers. It was always a close judgment call whether to go Dell in the first place.

  5. GenXCub says:

    I’ll stick with em because of my sweet work benefit of a 2% discount. I think the one I got my mom for Mothers Day 2 years ago had like six bucks shaved off the price… score…

    Either that or her apartment will burn down, either way, I get to call her less…

  6. I think Dell’s handling of this problem speaks volumes about why customers are deserting them, paying a few bucks more for other manufacturer’s products, and going home happy.

    Dell does a good job at most stuff – but when they screw up, they are very reluctant to admit error. I think this is part of their corporate DNA – witness the big talk of Michael Dell re: Apple eight years ago: “They should close the company and return the money to the shareholders”.

    Well, Apple in particular is doing much better now, encroaching on Dell’s notebook market share, and has done so in part by refusing to out-source support to the lowest, least understandable bidder, by recalling faulty products as soon as it’s apparent the failure rate is unacceptable, and offering retroactive warranty service on products that have endemic problems (iBook G3 is one example I can name). Sure, Apple products cost a few dollars more and sometimes their support sucks too – but they learn from mistakes – something Dell seems determined to avoid.

    Not to start a “flame war”, but it’s worth noting that the 1995 incident with Sony’s faulty L-Ion cells in Apple laptops caused the fruit company to put production on full stop, corral every single suspect battery that shipped (about 5900 of them, all in laptops) and offer two free NiMH batteries to every affected customer.

    So, where’s Dell on this? No recall, ineffective damage control, and declining sales.

    You get what you pay for!

  7. mschlock says:

    At least this was at work, and not in this guy’s house.

    …And now I’m starting to feel a bit more paranoid about leaving my work Dell laptop home alone when I bring it home on weekends. Please don’t burn down my house, little overheating work Dell.

  8. mariser says:

    John and Ben,

    how come you haven’t made merciless fun of Dell’s corporate blog? http://www.dellone2one.com/default.aspx
    so many reasons…not the least of which is that the top result when googling “one2one” is a porn site (NSFW, duh!). another reason: “one2one” is about as lame a name as imaginable.
    also, check out their post in re: flaming laptops, http://www.dellone2one.com/one2one/archive/2006/07/13/431….
    including this little gem:

    “By the way, lithium ion batteries are used in billions of notebooks, mp3 players, PDAs and cell phones these days.”

    really, check the blog.

  9. Ben says:

    1) what a pretty firetruck!
    2) I just remembered my wife has a dell laptop.
    3) note to self: replace smoke detector batteries that I pulled Christmas morning so we could race RC cars outside

  10. Plasmafire says:

    Its got to be an older firetruck. New firetrucks have slide up doors, replacing the open panels, because way too many firefighters have forgotten to lock the doors and have had them fly open when traveling down the highways somtimes losing all their gear in the process.

  11. Laptop Freak says:

    Man! I’ve never seen something like this before!
    Are you sure it’s not just a regular overheating problem? :)