Charging tablet caused fire in Holyoke

The tablet was charging, using an after-market cord plugged into an extension chord.

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A fire on July 3 at 370 High Street in Holyoke was ignited by a tablet that overheated while they were charging.

Captain Anthony Cerruti said the building was a combination of residential and commercial and the fire started in the bedroom on a third floor apartment. The tablet was charging, using an after-market cord plugged into an extension chord. The tablet was placed on top of a pile of clothes in a rubber tub at the foot of the bed.

Due to the damage, it can’t be specified if it was a failure of the tablet or the charging chord, said Cerruti.

Over 40 people were displaced from 14 apartments and three businesses were damaged. The loss is estimated at $200,000, said Cerruti.

Holyoke Fire Chief, John Pond, said, “The fire is a terrible loss to that area of the community, not only was it home to several families, but the businesses that were affected were an important part of the community.”

Safety tips for electronics powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries from Anthony Cerruti: 

  • Charge in well ventilated spot and do no cover while charging; allow the heat to dissipate.
  • Do not charge on top of soft or combustible surfaces such as bedding, upholstered furniture, clothes. The heat produced by the charging or the use of the battery can get trapped around the battery and if left untouched, can damage the battery or device or cause a fire.
  • Always use approved chargers or charging systems intended for use with your device or battery pack. Non-approved chargers or systems may not work properly with lithium-ion battery packs and can damage the battery or device or cause a fire.
  • Do not charge unattended. Unplug before leaving the house or going to sleep
  • Follow manufacturers instructions for charging. Don’t overcharge devices or leave them attached to the charger any longer than necessary. Overcharging can lead to a fire.
  • Don’t charge lithium-ion batteries in extreme temperatures. Cold temperatures can cause a battery not to hold a charge while high temperatures can cause a malfunction and lead to a fire.
  • Replace and properly discard damaged batteries. Using damaged batteries may lead to thermal runaway, which can cause a fire.

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