Fire risk from "dead" batteries - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 06-05-2014
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Fire risk from "dead" batteries

A few weeks ago I replaced the batteries in all our smoke alarms.

The batteries were PP9, the rectangular ones with both terminals at the top.

I threw the "dead" batteries into a bag with some AA and AAA batteries I was collecting for recycling.

Some hours later, there was a fire in our kitchen.

One of the PP9s' terminals had shorted against the case of one of the other batteries in the bag and had discharged very quickly, heating the other battery sufficiently to make it catch fire.

We evacuated the house very quickly and the only injury was to one of our dogs, our mini pinscher, Maia, who was in the kitchen, and suffered from smoke inhalation. She's fine now, after much treatment from the vet.

Damage to the kitchen was small, but there's a rumour in the village that someone was firing a gun - no-one was, but some of the batteries exploded and, yes, it sounded like gunfire.

Please take care with old batteries. I'd never have thought of them as a fire hazard, but they clearly are.
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#2 Old 06-05-2014
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fire

Great warning AJ - as a former fire surveyor for an insurance company I am only too aware of some risks.

How's the health - we haven't heard from you in a while?

Steve


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#3 Old 06-05-2014
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#4 Old 06-05-2014
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Thank goodness no one in your family was injured and the puppy recovered...did the smoke alarms work?

I store used batteries in an egg carton until full, then recycle both of them!


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#5 Old 06-05-2014
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Thank goodness no one in your family was injured and the puppy recovered...did the smoke alarms work?

I store used batteries in an egg carton until full, then recycle both of them!
No, the smoke alarms didn't work. That's very worrying. Testing them later, while checking the house with the firefighters, we discovered that they all "worked" when the test button was pressed.

I've installed new smoke alarms of a differ brand, but can I trust them?
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#6 Old 06-05-2014
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smoke detectors

As a part of my job I went to the fire research institute at Moreton in Marsh and watched a laboratory demonstration of the performance of various smoke and heat detectors - they were all linked to computers where you could see 'live' how each was sensing the fire and whether it was sufficient to go into 'alarm'.

You might be shocked just how big the fire was before some detectors operated and even the type of fire had a major effect on their performance.

Probably for household use, Optical smoke detectors are best and if you can get mains ones that are linked together (should be a heat detector in the kitchen not smoke). A big mistake people make is to mount them on walls or halfway up a stairwell. Smoke and heat rises to the highest point (in most cases) - you want your alarm to operate at the earliest possible point so don't position them so the smoke by passes them and has to build up before they operate.

AJ get your insurer to get a decontamination team in for the clean up. There will be a lot of toxins and even carcinogens in the smoke residue that you don't want to get touching. A professional clean will get rid of the smell quicker too
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#7 Old 06-05-2014
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Thanks for the post and warning. IIRC, old batteries should have the terminals covered/insulated (e.g. masking tape) before disposal.

Eddy



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