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Laptop Battery Explodes Damaging Germantown House and Burning Resident

Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service units were called to a Germantown house on Tuesday morning after a laptop battery exploded sending pieces of burning metal flying around the living room.

According to MCFRS senior spokesman Pete Piringer, units were called to 18928 Fountain Hills Drive in Germantown at 10:45 am after a 911 caller reported that a laptop battery had exploded and caught a sofa on fire. “Units arrived on the scene and found the fire out and evaluated the victim for a small burn on the arm,” said Piringer.

The caller was Nancy Bischoff who was sitting on her couch with her laptop on the coffee table watching television. “I heard a pop like you would hear from food in the microwave but I couldn’t tell what had popped,” said Bischoff. “And then it popped again, and I could tell that it was from the laptop.”

She said she flipped over the laptop to check the recently replaced battery. “I was trying to take the battery out of the back of the laptop, and it went up like a Roman Candle. There were sparks shooting everywhere.” It then exploded sending flaming battery components throughout the family room. “I had never seen anything like it. There were just sparks everywhere.”

According to fire officials, flaming battery components ignited the sofa, a sofa pillow, several areas on the carpet and the victim's hair. Bischoff said that the flaming battery components hit the wall and fell on the back of the couch and set it on fire. Flaming parts of the battery flew all over the room, leaving numerous char marks on the walls, ceiling, and carpeting in the family room.

“At first, I tried to smother the fire on the couch with a throw pillow, but that wasn’t doing any g