Warning after overheated laptop causes house fire

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The Fire Service is offering advice to the public after an overheated laptop on a bed started a house fire.

The fire started in a conservatory in Huddersfield and caused serious damage to the roof of the house and spread to the roof space of the two adjoining properties.

Fortunately no-one was in any of the affected properties at the time.

Following the blaze a Fire Investigation Officer attended to determine the cause and is now warning people to turn off their laptop when not in use.

Fire Investigation Officer Ian Firth said: “We have concluded that the most likely cause of the fire was that it started as a result of a laptop being left on a bed within the conservatory.

“The bedding material would have limited the ventilation which is required to ensure the laptop doesn’t overheat.

“If a laptop is placed on anything that prevents cool air circulation through it, the device can overheat and ignite surrounding combustible items. Our advice would be to use laptops on a solid flat surface which allows the cooling system to operate properly.”

There was no indication of a fault on the laptop itself.

TOP TIPS

Signs your laptop is overheating:

*Your fan always runs at maximum speed.

*You experience reduced performance because the Central Processing Unit reduces its clock speed in an attempt to reduce heat output.

*Frequent and sudden shutdowns to prevent hardware damage.

*Always use your laptop on a hard, flat surface.

*The majority of laptops draw cooling air in through ventilation grills on their underside. If the laptop sits on an uneven, soft surface like a blanket, pillow, duvet or your lap, the flow of air into the laptop is inhibited. *Subsequently, the cooling is reduced, heat builds up, the surface becomes hot and eventually the laptop overheats.

*This scenario is easily avoided by keeping the laptop on a hard and flat surface. You can use something as simple as a tray or get a special laptop holder or lap stand.

*Always turn off the laptop when not in use.