Another LiPO Fire Report. Very Sad. - RC Groups
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Dec 07, 2004, 12:20 PM
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Mr.RC-CAM's Avatar

Another LiPO Fire Report. Very Sad.

I came across a new LiPO fire report today. A fellow left the house for a few minutes to pick up dinner, even though he was aware the R/C LiPO pack was on the charger (which did concern him). He returned to a third floor house fire. Lost everything in his office and hobby rooms! It is very sad.

As careful as I am, I recently discovered that I can get distracted and forget about a charging LiPO. I recently jumped in the car and took off, only to realize the LiPO charger was in use. So I can see how this can happen to us mortals. In my case, I immediately turned around and shut things down.

Maybe I should stick one of those lost child alarms on the charger and carry the belt alert with me whenever the charger is in use. That way, if I get too far away from it, I will be yelled at!

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Dec 07, 2004, 12:32 PM
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32 speaker surround sound system ?.
Dec 07, 2004, 12:54 PM
Does anyone hear a cat?
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Dec 07, 2004, 02:22 PM
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Man what a terrible loss..... But luckily nodody was injured.

I hope that he is able to recover the loss from his homeowners insurance. It will be interesting to see if his insurance company takes any issue with paying out 70K as the batteries were being charged un-attended.

Good reminder to everybody....

Dec 07, 2004, 02:40 PM
Registered User
I have a couple of LiPo packs and man, this reminds me to have a lot of respect for stored energy of any type whether it be batteries or that can of gasoline kept in the garage for the lawn mower.

Sounds like the guy had a LOT of nice stuff too.
Last edited by tran1172; Dec 07, 2004 at 02:43 PM.
Dec 07, 2004, 02:50 PM
Registered User
Two really key statements in this sad tale:

* I have charged those battery's many of times while my wife and kids and I were all sleeping or away at town.

* If I remain doing this hobby I am buying a fire proof safe that I will keep and charge all battery's.

As anyone who reads this forum knows, anyone who posts a message here about charging Li-polys unattended -- especially while sleeping or away from the home -- is going to get bombarded with safety advice. Part of that advice would be to never leave charging Li-polys unattended, and to always charge in a fire-resistant container, in the oven or anywhere that a secondary fire cannot be ignited.

The real tragedy here is that Michael Shetler apparently purchased Li-polys without a full understanding of their potential dangers, or he was aware of the risk and ignored it. I doubt that anyone participating in this forum doesn't know about these potential dangers. But I wonder how many think "it can't happen to me" and do not take all the safeguards that can prevent something like this?
Dec 07, 2004, 03:04 PM
Hogster's Avatar
Tragic story. As tran said, it sounds like he HAD a LOT of nice stuff.

I wonder what caused it to ignite ...... wrong cell-count setting? Wrong charge current? Charging a damaged battery? .... hmmmm.

Personally, I was surprised at how calm his response seemed to be .....
Dec 07, 2004, 03:06 PM
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Dave, you are right on with your comments concerning those of us that read and post on ezone.....

But, I fear that there are many many RC flyers that might become complacent about Lipo charging over time as they do not either personally experience any problems or hear about any of the "venting with flame" incidents.

Or as my Daddy would say "You can fix ignorant, but you cant fix stupid".

Dec 07, 2004, 03:17 PM
houfek's Avatar
The story is a tragic sympathies to RC-CAM.

But in order for our education re lipo cells to continue, as Hogster said....

"I wonder what caused it to ignite ...... wrong cell-count setting? Wrong charge current? Charging a damaged battery? .... hmmmm."
Dec 07, 2004, 03:21 PM
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Mr.RC-CAM's Avatar
my sympathies to RC-CAM
It wasn't me that had the fire (thank goodness). I am just the messenger.

Dec 07, 2004, 03:28 PM
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Jacques Flambeau's Avatar
there are many many RC flyers that might become complacent about Lipo charging over time as they do not either personally experience any problems...
That is the problem. Even though we "know" about LiPo dangers, it is so easy to become complacent when you have hundreds of charges without incident. A discussion group like EZone is great for keeping the reminders of the danger fresh.

Dec 07, 2004, 03:41 PM
Registered User
only 2 possibilities of the ignition ( in my opinion )
the charger was that of an auto cell detect,,,, wrong detect????
The 3 cell pack very unbalanced??????
not sure what else could have been the reason
again just my opinion.

Very Tragic indeed. Glad no loss of life of any kind.
Dec 07, 2004, 03:42 PM
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Cal's Avatar
I wonder if the use of temp sensors hooked up to ones charger would eliminate many of these incidences......??
Dec 07, 2004, 03:47 PM
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Sad story, but illustrates how a simple pyrex bowl with a cover, or battery bunker, or some fireproof box would have prevented the disaster (perhaps). All of which can be bought for a fraction of the cost of a LiPo pack.

An ounce of prevention....
Dec 07, 2004, 04:01 PM
Registered User
from what I have seen the temp sensor would probably be to late, by the time the cells get warm and trigger the sensor to shut off the charger the voltages are alreay to high and they tend to just get hotter after that critical point. I have heard of packs catching fire up to 30 minutes later after charging and being removed from the charger. When the packs were removed from the charger they were not even warm to the touch, but flamed on anyways.

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