A home in southeastern Manitoba was burned down to ashes after an overheated laptop ignited nearby combustible materials lying on the desk.
According to a report by CBC News, the unfortunate incident happened on November 21 in Sundown community, located just over 100 kilometers southeast of Winnipeg. After an investigation, the provincial fire commissioner’s office released a statement this week and cited the incident as “accidental, due to an overheated laptop igniting nearby combustibles.”
As the report detailed, the owner of the home, Joyska Tkachyk, told CBC News that the laptop was charging on a desk near paperwork — something which a lot of people do on a regular basis. She also explained that her family runs their business out of home, therefore the desk was used as an office.
The incident happened when the family — including Joyska, her husband Randy, and their two daughters, aged 8 and 11 — had gone to visit the church which was an hour’s drive from the home. No one, therefore, was hurt. Unfortunately, however, the family’s pet dog was inside and couldn’t make it out, the report said.
It was Randy’s mother who first spotted the flames, but by the time it was too late to save the house. When Randy’s mother called him to tell him the horrible news, he told CBC News that the news took [his] heart right to [his] throat.”
Joyska shared her ordeal on Facebook and said that the house had burned to ashes. “By the time we returned (4½ hours after leaving our home), there was nothing left.”
In her post, she also thanked everyone who came forward to support the family in their hour of need, mentioning how people generously donated things to the family and even stores gave discounts and gift cards to help them. She said that although the incident was devastating for her family, it also turned out to be inspirational.
“We have been rallied around and blessed everywhere we turn,” she wrote on her Facebook post, adding that her family is “humbled by the immediate provisions stocking our temporary home (and refrigerator/cupboards). We are encouraged by the prayers and encouragements we have received and continue to receive.”
“We are safe. We are together. We are warm. God is so good.”
According to a report by CTV News Winnipeg, two decades ago, Randy built the 1100-square-foot bungalow himself. The couple — who are cattle ranchers by profession — had also been working on the 1800-square-foot addition to the house for the past year.
Joyska told CTV News that there weren’t any issues with the laptop, but after the incident, the family looks at the device in a different light.
“Wow. That’s all,” said Randy. “That something like that could take away your memories, the CTV News report quoted him as saying.
Health Canada’s website says that rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are common in laptop computers and can overheat and catch fire. The department says people should take precautions when the batteries are in use and when they’re being charged, the report added.