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Frayed cord may have contributed to computer blaze, SR firefighters say
Frayed cord may have contributed to computer blaze, SR firefighters say

St. Robert firefighters removed a burned laptop from a house.
SAINT ROBERT, Mo. (Nov. 3, 2009) — Quick response by a resident saved the home she was renting from a Tuesday afternoon fire after a computer blew up while she was sleeping, but firefighters say the incident illustrates the importance of safety precautions with electrical equipment.

The blaze at a home on the 100 block of Shara Drive off Eastlawn Avenue in St. Robert destroyed the Dell Latitude laptop computer but caused only minimal damage to the home, according to Deputy Fire Chief Drew Cassidy of the St. Robert Fire Department.

“She said it looked like a fountain of flames coming out of the laptop, but the fire was out before we got here; she just threw a towel on it,” Cassidy said. “She said when she woke up, she heard a popping sound, and there were purple sparks coming out.”

Damage was limited to the surface on which the computer was sitting and parts of the carpet on which flaming pieces of the computer landed but which quickly burned out. The total carpet damage was less than a two-by-four foot rectangle, Cassidy said.

Determining the exact cause of the fire may be impossible due to the condition of the computer, but Cassidy said it’s likely older computer cords played a role.

“There was a frayed electrical cord on it; it could have been the cause,” Cassidy said. “Especially with these new electrical strips with a surge protector, they are worth their weight in gold … anytime you have a frayed cord, it’s always better to replace it. People think electrical tape will fix anything, but it’s never as good fixed as buying a new cord.”

St. Robert police responded about 12:45 p.m. along with a fire engine, three firefighters and a command vehicle. Waynesville firefighters and Pulaski County Ambulance District paramedics also responded but were cancelled by St. Robert firefighters before they arrived. St. Robert firefighters remained on the fire scene until about 1:15 p.m. using fans to remove smoke from the home and making sure there weren’t other electrical problems in the home.

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