"Dell Laptop Burned Down My House"

Dan writes is to let us know that a Dell Laptop was the most probable cause of a fire that destroyed his home. We must say he seems in good spirits about it, all things considered:

On Monday morning I was heading to work like any other day.. little did I know that my home was being consumed by a raging fire. I arrived my desk to find that the phone was ringing – I needed to come home immediately was the message.

When I arrived home the entire street was blocked with fire and rescue crews. My 130 year old former farm house was engulfed in flames, with thick dark smoke pouring out of the windows and roof. Over 60 firefighters from 4 departments fought the blaze and battled equipment failures due to the near zero degree weather.

Hours later, after investigation the fire Marshall investigator took me aside asked me if I had a laptop computer. Yes — I told him I had a Dell Inspiron 1200…

It was determined that the laptop, battery, or cord malfunctioned around 15 minutes after I left for work, and quickly spread through the living room, the nearby dining room, and then up a stairwell into the bedrooms. Virtually the entire house suffered extensive fire, smoke, or water damage. The cold weather ensured that water quickly turned to ice which has further burdened and damaged the structure. All of our possessions have been lost – photos, keepsakes, clothes –everything. It looks like the house will be a total loss.

Dan is asking for our help contacting Dell, as they’ve been unresponsive to his queries:

” I have tried to call Dell to at least notify them of my problems, but each time I have called I get transferred into an endless loop of “Joe” or “Alan” all speaking a delectable version of English I presume emanates from Bangalore. I have been outright hung up on each time I get someone who speaks a reasonable version of English, or sounds like they might be in charge of something. Promises of call backs have gone, of course, unreturned.

Maybe you can help notify them. Or maybe pass along my new motto for Dell–

“Dude, you’re getting a burned down house!”

Ouch, this is so horrible. We suppose you could try emailing Dell’s Customer Advocate, Marie at:
Email: Customer_Advocate [at] dell [dot] com. Any suggestions from the rest of you? —MEGHANN MARCO

Dan Writes:
Dear Consumerist:

I’ve been a reader of your site for sometime. When the recent
problems began with laptop batteries I read about it at
consumerist.com. I own two Dell laptops — one for my wife and one
for myself — so I immediately checked out the model numbers and
batteries against dells website designed for the purpose.

On Monday morning I was heading to work like any other day.. little
did I know that my home was being consumed by a raging fire. I
arrived my desk to find that the phone was ringing – I needed to come
home immediately was the message.

When I arrived home the entire street was blocked with fire and rescue
crews. My 130 year old former farm house was engulfed in flames, with
thick dark smoke pouring out of the windows and roof. Over 60
firefighters from 4 departments fought the blaze and battled equipment
failures due to the near zero degree weather.

Hours later, after investigation the fire Marshall investigator took
me aside asked me if I had a laptop computer. Yes — I told him I had
a Dell Inspiron 1200. I had used it briefly while waiting for my car
to warm up. My wife had also used it to check her email and news
before she left for work and to drop our 18-month old daughter off to
work. I had left the laptop in sleep mode with the lid closed on the
edge of the sofa in the living room.

It was determined that the laptop, battery, or cord malfunctioned
around 15 minutes after I left for work, and quickly spread through
the living room, the nearby dining room, and then up a stairwell into
the bedrooms. Virtually the entire house suffered extensive fire,
smoke, or water damage. The cold weather ensured that water quickly
turned to ice which has further burdened and damaged the structure.
All of our possessions have been lost – photos, keepsakes, clothes —
everything. It looks like the house will be a total loss.

Since the incident my homeowners company has been very interested in
the information about the laptop. I have tried to call Dell to at
least notify them of my problems, but each time I have called I get
transferred into an endless loop of “Joe” or “Alan” all speaking a
delectable version of English I presume emanates from Bangalore. I
have been outright hung up on each time I get someone who speaks a
reasonable version of English, or sounds like they might be in charge
of something. Promises of call backs have gone, of course, un
returned.

Maybe you can help notify them. Or maybe pass along my new motto for Dell–

“Dude, you’re getting a burned down house!”

–dan

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