Dell burns down house

Man blames Dell laptop for house fire
By ERIN BRYCE

erin.bryce@heraldtribune.com
SOUTH VENICE – A fire that destroyed a South Venice house and left a family of five homeless early Thursday may have been sparked by a Dell computer model that was recalled by the company because its battery was a fire hazard.

Homeowner Louis Minnear, 36, said his wife’s Dell laptop was sitting on papers on the family’s couch when the couch mysteriously caught fire.

Minnear, who was staying with his family at a nearby motel Thursday night, said he is “convinced” the fire was started by the computer’s battery.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating, and has not ruled on the cause of the fire.

“None of us know what the cause is,” said Assistant Fire Chief Paul Dezzi. “That’s why we called the fire marshal.”

Dezzi said he knew there was a computer on the couch when the house burned, but was not aware that the computer was a Dell. He said the fire marshal’s office should issue a preliminary report on the cause today.

The flames took less than 20 minutes to move through the Falkland Road home, causing severe damage and leaving the structure uninhabitable. Sarasota County firefighters arrived at about 6:30 a.m.; they had the flames extinguished in 10 minutes.

The family lost almost all of its possessions, including 843 DVDs.

The fire came three days after Dell recalled 4.1 million notebook computer batteries. The company warned consumers the batteries could erupt in flames.

The recall is the largest safety recall in history for the consumer electronics industry.

Dell, the world’s largest PC maker, said the lithium-ion batteries were made by Sony and were installed in notebooks sold between April 2004 and July 18 of this year. Minnear said he bought the family PC two years ago. It is a Latitude D500, one of the models on the list with potential battery problems.

Minnear said he heard about the recall this week, but didn’t have the chance to do anything about it.

Minnear’s wife, Jeanne, used the laptop computer for work while at home. She is a computer programmer with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Minnear said he smelled what he thought was an electrical fire at about 5 a.m. But after a quick sweep through the house, he went back to bed.

About 45 minutes later, Minnear woke up again and saw that his couch was engulfed in flames.

He led his pregnant wife, 9-month-old son and two dogs out of the house. Once outside, Minnear said he scrambled back inside the house two more times, grabbing what little he could salvage before the flames and heat got to be too much. He salvaged wedding pictures, baby toys and his wife’s purse.

The family lost everything else. Much of the home is charred. From the front door, a Sesame Street Elmo doll sits on the house’s edge, its red fur charred black. The smell of black soot and melted plastic reaches to the street’s edge.

“It moved fast; it burned hot,” Minnear said. “But they got it out quickly.”

American Red Cross officials have given the Minnear family a three-night stay in a local hotel and vouchers for food and clothing. The family has until Sunday to find a rental place. Their insurance company said it would be a year before they’d be back in their home.

Neighbor Randy Doby, who was awakened by his barking dog once the flames rose, said it was hard to watch the family see their house burn.

“It was sad,” Doby said. “You hated to see that.”

Minnear said his two older sons were staying with family and didn’t have to experience the fire.

He said his sons have taken it differently.

While sifting through their belongings today, their 12-year-old son, Louis, saw that his favorite teddy bear had melted. Louis was crushed, Minnear said.

Meanwhile, their 6-year-old son was more concerned about his mother missing her DVD movie collection, which melted in the flames.

“It’s funny what kids worry about,” Minnear said.

Dell documented six instances since December in which notebooks overheated or caught fire. None of the incidents resulted in injuries or death.

Minnear said its hard to imagine that his home computer caused his house to burn down.

“It isn’t something you never think about,” Minnear said. “I’m just still kind of in shock over the whole thing.”

http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs. … 1/Help0530

Keep a vigilant eye on electronics yadda yadda (sick of talking about this warning already)

Uh oh…Dell is goin to lose some credibility :roll: I never had Dell stuff at all. But my working place has! On top of that, working with a Dell laptop on a GAS platform, wtf?! :shock: I fear for my safety now :cry:

Not to mention if one of those goes off on a plane.

Imagine this at airports - no shoes, no saying the word ‘bomb’, no liquids, no gels, no mp3 players, no DELLS.

Equally worse. No DELLs everywhere. The thing about my platform I’m working on is that most of the monitoring & safeguarding systems are using DELL workstations. This can be a serious safety issue for my company soon…

[quote=“Apai_Mau”]
Equally worse. No DELLs everywhere. The thing about my platform I’m working on is that most of the monitoring & safeguarding systems are using DELL workstations. This can be a serious safety issue for my company soon…[/quote]

It only affects notebooks with overheating batteries - i think the workstations are safe for now. I have a Dell server, on 24/7. I’m not at all worried it’s gonna go up in flames anytime soon.

Oops. I missed out that sentence in italics. :lol: Anyway, there are some system using DELL laptops, & should the news came into light within my company’s management there will be some serious safety issue as I have mentioned above.

[quote=“ian”]
It only affects notebooks with overheating batteries - i think the workstations are safe for now. I have a Dell server, on 24/7. I’m not at all worried it’s gonna go up in flames anytime soon.[/quote]

yo, ian… what is your server model?

[quote=“huasing”]
yo, ian… what is your server model?[/quote]

PowerEdge SC420

[quote=“ian”][quote=“huasing”]
yo, ian… what is your server model?[/quote]

PowerEdge SC420[/quote]

Does your come with the TR-40?
BTW, how much did you paid for that box?
It says on the web that it comes with RedHat ES 3.0. Is that what you opt for?

[quote=“huasing”]
Does your come with the TR-40?[/quote]

What’s TR-40? Never heard of it when we ordered it.

BTW, how much did you paid for that box?

Not disclosing that amount. But you get a pretty good idea when look at Dell’s web site.

It says on the web that it comes with RedHat ES 3.0. Is that what you opt for?

Heheheh - what do you think?

[quote=“ian”]
What’s TR-40? Never heard of it when we ordered it.

BTW, how much did you paid for that box?

Not disclosing that amount. But you get a pretty good idea when look at Dell’s web site.

It says on the web that it comes with RedHat ES 3.0. Is that what you opt for?

Heheheh - what do you think?[/quote]

TR-40 is the Travan 40GB Tape drive which you can tar it on the native RHEL console…

c’mon lar, could you at least tell me the price? I guess around RM3,500 kah?

but we must respect dell coz the batt itself is not manufactured by them…its Sony… but yet… Dell is the first to recall it and do public apology while the other Brand keep it quiet.
respect Dell for that.

anywa its not fair for us to totally banned Dell product. coz all the infected Batt are produce by Sony.

And Dell already release all the Manufactured Serial number for product that are infected mostly 2004 - 2006 product.

So if u really a Dell fan… if you still want to buy the product… to be safe ask the seller or bring your own list to chek rather the product is in the list or not.

So do the Airport… not fair for us to say no Dell product in Airplane. If the Product defected…then we can consider to not allow the pruduct on board.

Dell knew about the problem for two years and kept quiet. That’s not a respectable move.

ahaaaa… hehehe so Dell is a bad guys also… wahh pity me easily belived them this much.
anyway hope non of the accident happen in FLight or burn a house anymore.

As usual none of the product’s show’s sign’s of perfection in the real world, just those are the few “Unlucky ones” that made it into the consumer’s hand to get blown up.