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Dell Laptop Computer Explodes, Injuring Senior Citizen

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(Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

By Brad Segall and Elizabeth Hur

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — Fire officials in Bucks County are investigating what caused a laptop computer to explode, injuring the woman who was using it inside her Langhorne Manor home.

“It blew up. It flipped my computer back and the battery pack and all came out this way,” Loretta Luff recalled, “The next thing I knew, my shirt was on fire, I grabbed that and took that off and I think that’s when I singed my hair.”

Even with her singed hair, burned face, arm and foot, Luff considers herself lucky. She says she is grateful she and her disabled husband escaped worse injuries when her Dell laptop exploded Sunday afternoon.

Langhorne-Middletown Fire Company Chief Frank Farry has been fighting fires for 25 years and says he’s never seen anything like it. Farry says the evidence has been collected, but it appears the battery pack inside the computer went off like a bomb, sending debris six to eight feet away.

“The battery pack was on the floor. It was in pieces,” he says. “And then there were various plastic parts that landed in different areas within her living room.”

Luff extinguished the fire by dumping water on the computer. Doctors told the 72-year-old, her burns are chemical related. She continues to recover from her injuries.

Fire experts say fires involving lithium-ion batteries in laptops are rare, but can happen. They say problems can occur when a laptop is being used with a fully charged battery while it’s plugged in.

Read the rest at PHILADELPHIA.CBSLOCAL.COM.

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