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Laptop left on bed for half an hour sets fire to newlyweds’ Harold Hill house

11:11 13 June 2013

The couple's fire-damaged home

The couple's fire-damaged home

Archant

A young couple’s home was wrecked after a laptop left on their bed caught fire.

The fire burnt away the carpet and damaged the wall and floorboardsThe fire burnt away the carpet and damaged the wall and floorboards

The pair, who live off Straight Road in Harold Hill, had stepped out to a barbecue on Saturday evening when the computer, which had been left with its lid down, is believed to have overheated.

“I’m a teacher and I’d been writing reports,” said the 26-year-old wife, who wished to remain anonymous.

“I put the lid down and left it on the bed so I could continue when I got home.

“Forty minutes later, we got a phone call from our neighbour saying there was smoke and sparks coming from the bedroom window.”

The remains of the couple's bed, which firefighters threw out the windowThe remains of the couple's bed, which firefighters threw out the window

The newlyweds rushed home to find two fire crews battling the blaze with a jet. The bed where the Toshiba computer had been left was burning so fiercely firefighters had to throw its remains out of a window.

“I thought it was safe leaving it there,” admitted the primary teacher, who has been given time off work to sort out the wreckage.

“I never thought leaving my laptop on the bed would have done that.

“Everyone we’ve spoken to has said they do the same thing.”

The couple had married just a fortnight earlier and the husband had celebrated his 31st birthday two days before the fire.

Now many of their possessions, including keepsakes and wedding memorabilia, are beyond repair.

“The insurance people have condemned the whole bedroom and bathroom,” said the wife. “They were going to condemn my wedding dress, although now they’ve said they’ll try and clean it.

“The smoke got in all the drawers and wardrobes. Everything’s all black and it stinks.

“I lost all my reports and all my teacher training material is gone. My jewellery is smoke damaged. Even stuff downstairs has a layer of black over it.

“We don’t know where to start. The house needs gutting upstairs. The fire burnt up the carpet and underlay and it’s even weakened the floorboards.

“It’s not the best start to married life.”

The laptop was five years old. Fire investigators believe its battery hgad overheated.

A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: “You should always turn your laptop off when you’ve finished using it, and don’t leave it on a surface that could catch fire, like a bed or a chair.

“Laptop batteries can get very hot so it’s best to store them unplugged and on a heatproof surface such as a table.”

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