Originally Posted by FreeFlier
... Puffing and odor increased rapidly as charger was disconnected ...The battery was dumped into a plastic container filled with about 40 ounces of heavily salted water, and within 10-15 seconds spouted flame and heavy gray smoke ... Yes it did later occur to me that perhaps the pack should not have been placed in the water at that time, but the puffing., the odor, and liquid spots were quite unnerving ...
Salt in the water probably contributed to the thermal runaway - it effectively shorted the already overheated pack.
In this case, the pack eventually burned outside the house, so no collateral damage occurred. When charged in a closed Brinks Box or the like, problems with the pack might have gone unnoticed, and the pack might have burned in the house - no fire damage, but plenty of soot and smoke.
It's not available to everybody, but when it is, charging in a Brinks Box or the like, in a fireplace may offer an extra level of protection against smoke damage in the house. Charging outside would be even better.
Once again, it's wothwhile to observe, I think, that this fire ocuured with a series-charged pack.
So far as I know, no pack set up for individual or parallel-cell charging has ever caught fire while charging.