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Norwegian PowerBook Catches Fire

'The kind of fire one saw in Kuwait during the first gulf war.'

KRISTIANSAND NORWAY (ITavisen) -- A 12 inch Apple PowerBook belonging to Sølve Skrede of Idé til Produkt AS caught fire as he was working with it.

'I drew back instinctively when I saw flames emanating from the computer', said Skrede. 'And then the battery flew out - despite it being locked inside the case.'

Skrede used an external keyboard and mouse with the PowerBook. When the unit caught fire he was able to knock the burning battery into a steel trash container before the fire got completely out of hand. 'And just in time too', said Skrede, who watched the battery thereafter completely incinerate.

'It was the kind of fire one saw in Kuwait during the first gulf war', said Skrede.

Skrede's firm Idé til Produkt AS specialise in security solutions, so he knows quite a bit about battery technology. 'Lithium ion batteries produce their own oxygen when they catch fire', says Skrede.

And whatever you do, don't try to put out a burning lithium ion battery with water', he warns. 'That will produce toxic gases that are dangerous to breathe.'

Once things had calmed down Skrede contacted Apple to tell them what had happened. Apple took the matter seriously and considered traveling to Kristiansand to inspect the burned out PowerBook.

'We can only express our regrets, even if we don't yet know the cause. The customer wants a new computer. We'll send the damaged computer to our technical laboratory in Ireland. From there it may be forwarded for further examination', said Arne Odden from Apple Norway.

Sølve Skrede wants to focus on the security issues.

'I want to believe this can be a one time thing caused by a series of coincidences. But it's equally important one finds out what the cause is so one can avoid accidents like this in the future', concludes Skrede.

Skrede says he's terrified to think what would have happened if the battery had caught fire in an airplane or at home while his family were asleep.

[Note: Apple Defects incorrectly report this as occurring in Sweden. Ed.]

Sølve the Firefighter

Sølve's place of work.

A side view of the PowerBook after the explosion.

The explosion blew the battery out of its locked case.

This PowerBook won't be of much use anymore.

Another side view of the PowerBook after the explosion.

All that's left of the PowerBook battery.

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