ThinkPad afire at LAX?

A poster at the Web site Something Awful this weekend described a frightening scene at Los Angeles International Airport when a passenger rushed out of a plane with a smoking laptop during the boarding process.

The laptop's owner identified it as an IBM, whose older ThinkPad laptops are now under the care of Lenovo. The laptop eventually caught fire in the waiting lounge before it was extinguished by airport workers, the post said. The exact cause was not certain, but pictures posted on (caution: naughty words) Something Awful show a charred battery case.

Millions of Dell and Apple Computer laptop owners have grown familiar with these types of stories after two massive recalls of Sony batteries that could potentially cause a fire. The incidents of fire are relatively rare, given the millions of laptops shipped annually, but the pictures are unnerving, especially when the fires involve airplanes.

A Lenovo representative was aware of the report on Something Awful, but couldn't confirm whether the laptop was a ThinkPad or if the battery was to blame for the fire. The company has dispatched investigators to examine the laptop, he said.

Almost every notebook maker uses Sony batteries to some degree in its products, but Lenovo was very outspoken that its products were not affected during the early of the Dell and Apple recalls. The company said it used different methods for charging and securing the battery into the notebook than its competitors. At this point, it's too early to know anything about this particular battery or notebook. In other cases, battery fires have occured due to counterfeit batteries.

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