A driver on his way to work was forced to pull off the road when his laptop ‘exploded’ and burst into flames on the passenger seat.
Thomas Riches says someone could have died when the fire engulfed his Apple MacBook and set fire to documents on Wednesday morning.
His car was a write-off and he’s now shared this photograph showing the damage to make other people aware of what happened so that it does not happen to them.
Mr Riches, 33, was driving from his home in Paignton to his work in Newton Abbot, and had his Apple MacBook in his laptop bag on the passenger seat when he saw it started smoking.
He told Devon Live : “I was driving to work when I was involved in an incident where my car had caught fire due to my laptop catching fire while on my way to work.
“I would like to make others aware that this could happen, I don’t want to see something similar happen where it could take a life. I was very lucky yesterday.
“I was driving from Paignton where I live to Newton Abbot where I work. The laptop – a MacBook Pro – was in a bag on the seat and it started smoking. I pushed it to one side, but then saw the flames coming out of it and it ignited.”
He said that he managed to stay calm enough to pull over to the side of the road to get out of the way of the traffic and a man in a white van saw what was happening, pulled over as well, and got out a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Minutes later the fire brigade arrived as well and extinguished the fire.
Thomas added: “They said that the source of the fire was the laptop as there was a burnt area where the battery was located. It must have just exploded and caught fire with all the paper documents that I also had inside the bag.
“I don’t know how it happened – and neither do Apple yet. They want to get hold of the laptop to find out and it will be sent off to them for them to look at.”
He said that at the time of the fire, the laptop was on sleep mode – a low power mode for electronic devices – but that on its own should not have led to the fire.
His Ford Mondeo has been left as a write-off, but he said it was fortunate that he had a lucky escape and suffered no injuries.
But he added: “It did though hit home last night how lucky it was that it happened in the car and that I could pull over. I have got three kids at home and if it happened at home or when we were asleep then who knows what could have happened. I don’t really want to think about it too much.”
One fire crew from Paignton was called to Vicarage Hill in Marldon at just before 7am on Wednesday after the fire.
A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue said: “This was a fire involving one laptop on passenger seat of vehicle, extinguished one hose reel jet. The cause of the fire was accidental.”