Couple’s urgent warning after an everyday item made their car suddenly burst into flames on holiday
- Power bank exploded inside hot van
- Couple were travelling through Australia
- Battery destroyed seats and middle console
- Aussies warned to be battery-aware in the heat
A couple have issued an urgent warning to their fellow travellers after a power bank exploded in their van and almost ruined their holiday.
Chris Thorpe and her husband had been using the device to charge their phones and tablets during the journey before it almost destroyed their vehicle.
Ms Thorpe said she had planned on bringing the power bank inside but that her hands had been full at the time and she had forgotten to return for it.
When the couple returned to the van they were shocked to discover the device had caught on fire and was ‘smouldering’ in the front seat.
Ms Thorpe described the close call in an online camping group in the hopes other enthusiasts wouldn’t make the same mistake.
‘Car temp obviously rose, sun hitting the power pack … boom,’ she wrote.
‘This is what confronted us. Destroyed front seat, seatbelt, seat covers, console and black soot everywhere.’
Shocking images of the damage show the middle console melted, large chunks of the passenger seat missing, and the fluffy seat covers singed.
Chris Thorpe and her husband had been using the device to charge their phones and tablets during the journey before it almost destroyed their vehicle (pictured, the damage in the van)
The couple say the van may have been completely destroyed if they hadn’t returned when they did and extinguished the flames.
Luckily, they could continue on their journey despite the setback.
‘Positives: we are OK, van is OK, car is still drivable, I get to be a backseat driver and we have insurance,’ she told group members.
‘Just a ‘blip’ in our adventures.’
She warned others not to leave electronics in their cars, especially on hot days.
Despite being the most common batteries found in electronics, lithium-ion batteries are highly flammable and can easily catch on fire.
They are found in mobile phones, portable laptops and chargers, power tools and more recently inside electric bikes, scooters and solar battery storage units.
Shocking images of the damage show the middle console melted, large chunks of the passenger seat missing, and the fluffy seat covers singed (pictured)
Risks associated with the batteries include overheating causing fire or explosion, resulting in burns, toxic chemical exposure, and pollution.
If the battery ruptures or is subject to elevated temperatures it could catch fire.
Users are encouraged to ensure batteries are stored within the temperature range recommended by the manufacturer and away from flammables.
Battery packs should not be exposed to heat, direct sunlight, or left in hot vehicles for long periods of time.
Signs that a battery is overheating include if the battery is extremely hot to the touch, is swollen or leaking, making a hissing or cracking sound, or emitting smoke.