Lithium Power Bank Fire in our Home Office!

Jim was working in our home office, when he heard a bang and perhaps reflection of a light. Being a baby boomer, he first ducked and covered, as it sounded like it was overhead.

This 10,000 mAH power bank exploded and started a fire in our home office.

Within seconds, he turned around and saw that an old 10,000 mAH power bank that was charging behind him on top of our filing cubbies had a cell explode and started a fire on top of the (paper littered) filing cubbies. He yelled “Fire!”, and Carol yelled “What?”, because she was indisposed. The team quickly assembled. The filing cubbies are modular, so Jim carried out the top shelf with most of the flaming bits out the front door. To extinguish the rest of the papers, Jim dumped all the filing cubbies contents on the floor. Carol first brought a fire extinguisher, but by this point we just need a pan of water to get the last bits of fire out.

Jim was able to carry out most of the burning bits on the top of modular filing cubbies.

We were really lucky. We used the power bank on Saturday for the power outage to charge a cell phone. Jim plugged it in to charge on Sunday. On Wednesday it exploded. If we had not been home (or perhaps even sleeping), our house could have burned down.

The blast from the exploding 18650 cell was aimed away from Jim’s head and toward the wall.
The 18650 cell discharged like a shotgun shell, and the hot burning contents hit the wall, then dropped onto our hardwood floor. The floor has deep burns. The main internet cable to our router was also behind the shelves, and was damaged.
Since Jim was in the room, he was able to extinquish papers on fire quickly before more ignited. Between the papers and the curtains, we likely would have had a fully engaged house fire if we hadn’t been able to act immediately.
Jim dumped the cubbies on the floor as he took the shelving units outside. This was all fuel the fire could have had (as well as the nearby curtains).

We will do a “Lessons learned” or “Best Practices” blog later.

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