Macbook caught fire. - With happy ending!

mixel

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jan 12, 2006
1,691
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Leeds, UK
This is a strange one, and I guess somewhat of a warning to anyone without smoke alarms. :/

My wife's Macbook 1,1 went up in smoke last night, obviously it was the battery, but the laptop was by the bed and almost set fire to a laundry basket next to it. (melted a hole through that) The Macbook wasn't plugged in.

We have a three year old daughter who thankfully slept through the whole incident. Kat woke up because the room had filled with horrid chemical smoke. She got it to the bathroom burning her fingers slightly, then I got it outside on concrete before it made its final dramatic death throes (pooofff… fizzle) but it was smoking like crazy the whole time and ridiculously hot. The smell really lingers too.

The weird part though is this wasn't the original battery, it was a replacement from a couple of years ago, well after the recall.. and I'm pretty sure that I checked that it wasn't one of the recalled S/Ns. I can't find any definitive list/explanation of which A1185 were recalled though which is frustrating me!
The laptop had been treated well, there haven't been any sudden impacts or unusual events in its entire lifespan. The battery was holding a charge fine and hadn't swollen or shown any signs of wear... Until it blew up.

Obviously we're all a bit shocked.. So glad it didn't do any real harm..

The question now though is; has anyone else had anything like this? It's not covered by our home contents insurance because there was no accidental damage or theft. Being 5 years old the laptop wasn't under warranty either.. My wife ran her business from that little machine so it's all a bit of a mess. Are Apple interested in cases like this?


Even more strangely I think the HDD might still work. it's a bit black in places but didn't melt like much of the rest of the machine. Sort of funny how the touchpad fused with the screen. Ugh.
 

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Jolly Jimmy

macrumors 65816
Dec 13, 2007
1,357
3
Wow, gruesome photos... thank goodness it didn't start a more serious fire. You should definitely take this up with Apple. I don't think they take this kind of thing lightly.
 

szolr

macrumors 6502
Jul 27, 2011
376
0
London, UK
:eek: Some images! :eek: Apple should compensate you for that I reckon. It's lucky it didn't cause serious harm.

Be interesting to hear what Apple says to you about it.
 

mixel

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jan 12, 2006
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Leeds, UK
Thanks for the replies, I'll definitely keep the thread updated. I'll ring Apple up tomorrow and see what they have to say.

As far as I know it was an Apple battery, it has an Apple S/N and perfect design, and I had no reason to doubt it (it was a gift through Amazon when the previous one stopped holding charge so well).

But yeah, it was just in sleep mode and unplugged! I don't get it at all.
 

soco

macrumors 68030
Dec 14, 2009
2,837
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Yardley, PA
Jesus that's one hell of an ordeal. Really glad no one got hurt.

I'll reiterate, please update with Apple's response.
 

mixel

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jan 12, 2006
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Leeds, UK
So far Apple have been very apologetic and extremely interested. The case got elevated and they asked a lot of questions about the incident and laptop's history, and asked for photos.

I found the original packaging to get to the S/N as the label inside the battery slot was melted. Reassuringly both of the guys I spoke to hadn't had to deal with a case quite like this before and sounded genuinely shocked haha.

An engineer should ring me back within 24 hours now. I'm not sure what they're likely to say other than.. "it's toast!"

Hilariously the HDD *does* work. It doesn't really look like it should though!

Here are some more photos for curiosity's sake:
 

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Heavertron

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2011
130
0
UK
Thank goodness the family are ok. Very difficult to buy a replacement child or wife of the same condition and specification as the originals!

I'm sure Apple will make it right.
 

ericrwalker

macrumors 68030
Oct 8, 2008
2,812
3
Albany, NY
Amazing, I hope that never happens to any of my machines.

I am surprised the hard drive is working as well. Looks like it took a lot of heat, amazing it didn't warp the plates in it.

If it was Solid State I would think it would be able to take that, and maybe a little more as long as it was shut off while burning.
 

SkippyThorson

macrumors 68000
Jul 22, 2007
1,541
540
Utica, NY
My first thought was to say that I'm glad to hear that you and your family, your house, and everything else is alright. I'm shocked to see something like this, although it isn't the first time; you don't expect to hear about exploding or hazardous tech in this day and age, compared to "deadly CRTs" or other such things.

My second thought was when you said the hard drive still worked; I would not only buy an external enclosure to put it in and use it / keep it safe, but I would also back it up to another new hard drive just in case - especially when you mentioned it was your wife's business computer.

Again, I'm glad to hear everyone is alright, and I feel bad for what you went through. I would have absolutely lost all sense of logical thought. I once had a blender that began smoking and caught fire; I unplugged it and threw it out in the middle of my back yard, letting the rain take care of it. My computer doing that, well that's a different story. I might have just done the same thing.
 

kolax

macrumors G3
Mar 20, 2007
9,181
115
That's very scary indeed, especially when it wasn't even plugged in. What if this had been in your bag during a flight or something.
 

Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
Echo That

Thank goodness the family are ok. Very difficult to buy a replacement child or wife of the same condition and specification as the originals!

I'm sure Apple will make it right.
I'm glad you and the family were not hurt....Please keep us updated! I would be very interested to know what the root cause of this was.

I have a new MBP and a new Air.....So far, all is well, but this type of thing can give sleepless nights. They both live in the lounge, and I'ma light sleeper with smoke alarms up to date and working.
 

mixel

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jan 12, 2006
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Leeds, UK
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

No word from the engineer yet. I was impressed with how thorough their questions were last night though. Things like "what colour was the smoke?" They even asked if it would it be okay if an engineer comes to see the scene of the incident. (I doubt they'll take me up on that as I've explained how there is nothing to see)

They are taking it very seriously, so that's good. In a post fire panic I found out my wife's old iPod nano is one of the recalled ones too! We'll be getting rid of that! Not having good tech luck this week. (one of my totally unrelated HDDs failed too lol)

Edit: just thought I'd also mention how much I appreciate the response from the board too. I often only read the hot topics here which don't always bring out the best in people and I was half expecting at least some people to blame me/my wife for it or think I was "fake!"/trolling. Your support has been really comforting.
 

mixel

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jan 12, 2006
1,691
890
Leeds, UK
Great news

The engineer didn't call back but the same supervisor did. I guess the engineer looked at the photos and S/Ns and confirmed it was legit.

They asked me to wrap it up and drop it off at my nearest certified Apple service centre - and Apple are sending us a new 13" Macbook Pro.

So that's something incredibly positive from all this at least. I'm pretty flabbergasted by how great Apple have been with it all. It's been dropped off, now I'm just waiting.

Here's a funny photo of the charred Macbook outline it left on our stone steps outside. (the pink is chalk, not battery related)

update: he called back to confirm a MBP was ok with me and I'll get an email about delivery of the replacement within the next couple of days. :D
 

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Sonhascome

macrumors 6502
Feb 18, 2010
272
0
Maryland
wow! this is crazy! thank goodness they are sending you a replacement macbook pro! a frightening story with a good end at least
 

johnhurley

macrumors 6502a
Aug 29, 2011
777
55
Even more strangely I think the HDD might still work. it's a bit black in places but didn't melt like much of the rest of the machine. Sort of funny how the touchpad fused with the screen. Ugh.
Glad you and your family are ok! Thanks for posting this topic.

Keep the hard drive and see if apple will also give you some kind of external USB drive caddy ( if you don't already have one ) so you can try to restore stuff from it. ( Or maybe you have some other kind of good backup of it already ).
 

kolax

macrumors G3
Mar 20, 2007
9,181
115
Edit: just thought I'd also mention how much I appreciate the response from the board too. I often only read the hot topics here which don't always bring out the best in people and I was half expecting at least some people to blame me/my wife for it or think I was "fake!"/trolling. Your support has been really comforting.
It's because you posted some decent photos. If you had no photos then you'd probably get flammed!

Glad it's a happy ending (replacement and no house fire). I'd have asked for an Air instead but enjoy your Pro!
 

mixel

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jan 12, 2006
1,691
890
Leeds, UK
It's because you posted some decent photos. If you had no photos then you'd probably get flammed!

Glad it's a happy ending (replacement and no house fire). I'd have asked for an Air instead but enjoy your Pro!
:D A MBP is much more suitable for Kat's general usage as she collects things at an alarming rate, and the SSD wouldn't be big enough to even store all the stuff from her previous drive. (it's to be her soul machine as well as for business stuff).. Personally I'd have preferred an Air too but that’s just me, hehe.

Even a refurb Macbook would've done the job though - i really wasn’t expecting this quality of treatment despite what people were suggesting in the thread. I'm really glad I posted here in the first place. Silver linings are always good.
 
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