Aussie woman's warning after common item sets car on fire

Chris Thorpe was travelling with her husband when she returned to the vehicle to see it 'smouldering'.

An Australian woman has warned of the dangers of leaving a battery pack in the sun after her car suffered significant damage.

Chris Thorpe was travelling with her husband when she left the portable charger in their vehicle. Moments later the pair returned to a "smouldering" battery pack that had melted the seat and console.

Ms Thorpe explained it was "a very hot day" but did not confirm where or when the incident occurred. The device was not being used at the time and was "just sitting there" in the sun when it overheated, she said.

"Car temp obviously rose, sun hitting power pack ... boom," she wrote in a camping group on Facebook on Sunday. "This is what confronted us. Destroyed front seat, seatbelt, seat covers, console and black soot everywhere."

A portable charger, or battery pack, left in the heat caused the car to catch on fire.
A portable charger, or battery pack, left in the heat caused the car to catch on fire. Source: Facebook

Photos shared online show the centre console and part of seat the melted away. The seat covers were also damaged and burnt in the incident. Mr Thorpe revealed there were some flames but the couple were able to put them out before a significant fire erupted.

Thankfully, the couple are insured and no one was injured, but it was a "very dear" mistake she hopes no one else will make.

"We are ok, van is ok the car is still driveable," she confirmed. "Just a 'blip' in our adventures."

Care to be taken with batteries to avoid fire

Lithium-ion batteries are the most common rechargeable batteries but Fire and Rescue NSW warn they can be dangerous if not cared for properly.

"Most of these fires occur when lithium-ion batteries are in the process of charging and overheat, causing an explosion of flames in living rooms or garages," Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience Steph Cooke said.

"Please treat Lithium-ion battery-powered products with care, don’t leave them on charge for extended periods of time, and remember to call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency situation."

FRNSW Acting Deputy Commissioner Strategic Capability Trent Curtin said both re-chargeable and disposable batteries can expel molten flammable metal and emit toxic gases when on fire.

"When Lithium-ion batteries fail, they are prone to 'thermal runaway', which sees them build up intense heat until they violently burst, causing toxic, flammable and explosive gases and flames that are extremely difficult to extinguish."

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