Photos: Groveland Fire Department Issues Alert after Drone Battery Plugged into Charger Sets Fire to Pool Table

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Groveland Fire Department
Robert B. Lay, Fire Chief
Public Safety Building
181 Main St
Groveland, MA 01834

For Immediate Release

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: john@jgpr.net

Groveland Fire Department Issues Alert after Drone Battery Plugged into Charger Sets Fire to Pool Table

GROVELAND — Chief Robert Lay and the Groveland Fire Department would like to remind the community on how to properly charge and store battery-powered devices following several incidents where items caught fire.

Last week, the Groveland Fire Department responded to a residence in town after a drone’s battery that was plugged in charging on top of a pool table overheated, causing the material on the table to catch fire. Residents were alerted to the fire from the home’s smoke detectors. Damage was contained to the room of origin and no one was injured.

A couple weeks prior to that, Groveland was called to a home in town after a resident reported a carbon monoxide detector was going off. Upon arrival, firefighters noticed an acid smell in the basement. They determined that the cause of the CO reading and the smell was due to an automobile battery being charged indoors.

About a year ago, the Groveland Fire Department responded to home after a 3-foot helicopter that was plugged in and charging on a carpeted bedroom floor began smoldering and burning the rug.

“Residents should be aware that these types of incidents are not uncommon,” Chief Lay said. “Any type of battery, whether it’s in a drone, toy, or even a cell phone, creates heat and if they’re on a combustible surface, they can cause a fire.”

To prevent fires, Chief Lay recommends that community members follow safety tips from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services:

  • Don’t place charging devices or devices in use on soft and/or combustible surfaces. The heat produced by the charging or use of the battery can get trapped around the battery and if left untouched, can damage the battery or device, or cause a fire.
  • Always use approved chargers or charging systems intended for use with the device or battery pack. Non-approved chargers or systems may not work properly and can damage the battery or device, or cause a fire.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for charging. Don’t overcharge devices or leave them unattended for long periods of time. Overcharging can lead to a fire.
  • Don’t charge or use batteries in extreme temperatures. Cold temperatures can cause a battery to not hold a charge while high temperatures (or prolonged exposure to sunlight) can cause a malfunction and lead to a fire.
  • Replace and properly discard damaged batteries. Using damaged batteries may lead to thermal runaway which can cause a fire.

Additionally, Chief Lay recommends that all automobile batteries should be charged outdoors, or in a well ventilated area.

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