My Computer is on Fire !

One of my favourite memories of our son when he was very young was of him running down the street shouting “My bottom’s on fire”. I mention this anecdote as I had to think of it after my latest mishap. A few days ago, whilst I was sitting at my computer, I began to smell something burning. It was that typical electrical burning smell you get from burning bits of plastic. I assumed it came from outside, so went to the window to check if I could see anything. At that point the smell had disappeared and I realised the fire must by inside. As the first wisps of smoke came out of one of the computers I came to the sad conclusion that the fire was rather closer to hand. After quickly unplugging the PC, I checked inside to see one of the cables alight. Fortunately I could blow out the flame and disaster was averted.

The actual cable is a PATA to SATA power converter, used to power a DVD burner. Looking at the charred remains I assume it had somehow shorted out, overheated and caught fire (see pic below for the gory details). From memory I believe I got this cable as part of a PC case I bought. The burnt PC is actually an old one I put together in 2008, so I guess the fault component just failed with age.


After recovering from the shock, what have I learnt from this experience:

  1. Even in the 21st century luck still plays an important part in our lives. I was VERY unlucky that my cable failed, but I was VERY lucky that I was sitting at the PC at the time.
  2. It’s time to check the smoke alarms and install a new alarm in our “Home Office” room
  3. I probably need to be more careful about leaving PCs (and any other electronics) powered on when we’re not at home.
  4. It’s probably time to invest some money in an automated cloud backup solution (even though it’s tempting to be cheap and just make a copy of everything to a cheap USB disk !). Once I’ve something in place I’ll let you know.
This entry was posted in Home and Garden, PC builds, Smoke Alarm, Tech and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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