Steve Landeau told us about his 'incident' in his garage:
I thought I'd pass along some photos of my little fire today. I didn't
get pics of the flames... I figured I'd get rid of them asap, but they were
a good foot tall. Yes, one of my LiPo's caught fire today while charging. I
was lucky in a few ways.. 1) to have been home, 2) I was not sleeping 3) I
was not standing anywhere near it. When it blew up, it spit burning, sticky
debris all over the countertop. The goo landed on a new 8103 which also
caught fire, a couple of other LiPos sitting next to the charger, the
charger (caught fire), a NiCd battery which shorted and burned too when the
goo melted the wire insulation, all over the top of the Patriot that I just
bought back yesterday, and a couple sails hanging up next to the countertop.
The message.... NEVER, EVER charge LiPos unattended.
Ken Binks offered some comments:
The low weight of LiPos (achieved partly by the fact that components are
NOT in a metal can, which is a safety issue) and tremendous power output are
truly attractive, especially for winch type power demands. I just
think we cannot stress too highly the risks if the safety instructions are
not adhered to. And if catastrophic consequences can happen even if
you follow the rules, then a BANG BAG must be used when charging.
Steve's pictures convey a napalm-type goo going everywhere, which a BANG BAG
would contain. LiPos need a special charger. And, never allow a LiPo
cell to discharge below 3V.