A blog on ‘The Consumerist’ tells of how a faulty Dell laptop was the probable cause of a fire which burnt down a house in Biddeford, Maine.

Dan (the unfortunate homeowner) writes:

“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”

So far it seems Dan’s attempts to contact Dell have been unsuccessful; he mentions that he has been passed around Indian call centres and hung up on countless times. Promises of being called back have gone unfulfilled.

This isn’t the first house fire claimed to have been caused by a faulty Dell laptop; back in August of last year a home in South Venice was burnt to the ground after a faulty Dell notebook caught light to the family sofa.

Owning a Dell notebook myself this is all a little worrying.  Although my model of notebook is mentioned in the battery recall the specific battery serial numbers are 1-2 digits away from those under recall!