‘Ticking Time Bomb’: Florida Man’s 2007 MacBook Catches Fire

When a man, Gil Sanderford, in Tampa, Florida, sat at his dining room table in hopes of getting some work done on his MacBook computer, the last thing he expected was to hear it hissing before catching fire, according to WFLA.

Sanderford stated that his 2007 MacBook computer was turned off while he was charging it but as he was just about to turn it on, he noticed something rather unusual. A faint, hissing sound was coming from his MacBook and within 30 seconds, it was on fire.

“Thick, white smoke” began pouring out of the laptop and filling the air.

Without hesitation, he quickly grabbed the MacBook and took it outside.

“Sparks started flying out from underneath the computer,” said Sanderford, who works as a consultant. “I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life. All I knew was that I had to grab it, try to get more door locked outside as fast as possible.”

By the time he reached the front door, “some of the plastic got stuck to his fingertips” and his dining room table was destroyed.

When he was able to get the fire under control, Sanderford examined it and said, “everything’s just fried.” He believes the fire began with the replacement battery, which he bought from Batteries Plus instead of an Apple store, but he wasn’t sure.

He took his MacBook to iHospital, an Apple product repair company on Fowler Avenue near the University of South Florida, where technicians told him that the “replacement battery overheated.”

“From what I understand, Batteries Plus has these manufactured as Rayovac batteries; that’s what they told me,” said Sanderford.

Tom Goldscheck, who is an Apple expert, stated that “this is the worst I’ve ever seen” after viewing the battery inside the MacBook. He went on to say that “you never want to buy aftermarket batteries for them. A lithium-ion battery can literally explode at any time.”

“You’re causing your computer or phone to be a ticking time bomb.”

“The battery continues to get hotter and hotter and it doesn’t stop. Unfortunately, this is what happens,” Goldscheck stated. “A lithium-ion battery can literally explode at any point in time.”

Although lithium-ion battery failures are rare, there have been several recent cases of explosions, involving a portable charger and a Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Experts say “cheaper aftermarket options may be tempting,” but “they can lack crucial overcharge protection,” therefore, it’s always best to go the safer route and purchase a brand name replacement battery.

According to Fox 13 News, when the MacBook caught fire, Sanderford’s wife and children were in the home and he said, “if we had been asleep, I know my house would have caught on fire.”

“Hopefully, they would recall this type of battery because if this happened to me, and hopefully, it wouldn’t happen to someone else.”

After the incident, Batteries Plus Bulbs released a statement, which stated as follows.

“Batteries Plus always put the safety of its customers first and, as such, we take this matter very seriously. We are in direct contact with the customer; however, without having access to the home, the affected MacBook, the charger and the battery, we have no way to further assess or comment on the specifics of this incident.”

Sanderford, who went public with his story to warn others about the dangers of lithium-ion batteries, told reporters that after his MacBook caught fire, he is “working with Batteries Plus Bulbs to get a new computer.”

He said, “It’s scary. It’s really scary. I’m just glad I was home when this happened. I know my house could have caught on fire.”

[Image via Shutterstock]