Author Topic: Li-Ion Drill Battery "Meltdown" - Home "De(s)pot" Strikes AGAIN!...  (Read 525 times)
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Li-Ion Drill Battery "Meltdown" - Home "De(s)pot" Strikes AGAIN!... « on: March 07, 2022, 09:00:09 PM » Author: MVMH_99
Hi everyone,

I thought you'd like this story of something crazy that happened at work involving a Ridgid (Home De{s}pot exclusive-brand) cordless drill battery not too long ago.  As the title line of this topic suggests, it literally WAS a "meltdown" - but probably much worse...

Anyways, I work for a major liquor store chain.  We have a variety of different tools for various maintenance and repair needs, including what **WAS** a Li-Ion-powered cordless drill set.  It WAS a Ridgid-brand (only available at Home De{s}pot, but NOT actually OWNED by Home De{s}pot).

One night, prior to closing, someone plugged in the battery to charge overnight, and left it in the front (manager's) booth.  However, they (quite accidentally) placed it in close proximity to a cardboard box, with it probably not even remotely crossing their mind it would be an issue.  At ~4 AM (give-or-take) the next morning, my poor manager (who had been working 60+ hour weeks over the past few months and had just finally gone out-of-town) received a literal "wake-up" call from our fire alarm monitoring company that the system had been activated.  When she checked the surveilliance system from her phone, she was rudely presented with a store FILLED with smoke!  :eoled: :o :poof:  >:(

Luckily, the sprinkler system completely put out the fire, but it grew so large and was so hot that it set off TWO 200*-rated heads (within a ~ 3 ft. range of one another).  Since there was a considerable delay before the fire department could even respond and assess the "status" before shutting off the water supply, the ENTIRE store was flooded - even the breakroom in the COMPLETELY opposite corner of the store!  In total, we lost ALL of the cash register terminals, an iPad, an expensive LaserJet printer, TWO PCs, EIGHT handheld scanners, our ADT (security) alarm system panel, and multiple stacks of paper.   :-\  :curse:  :poof:  The ONLY thing that held up in the booth was our heavy, fire-resistant safe.  So, at least we didn't have a bunch of stored (physical) cash get destroyed - despite the "remaining" tens-of-thousands of dollars worth of damage that occurred.  And, virtually all of the inventory was okay, since it was far enough away from the point of the fire and just bottles.

Not only this, but the entire booth (constructed out of thick, hard particleboard) was so badly damaged it had to be completely removed.  The walls surrounding the area are still scorched and have bubbled-up paint, and the drywall throughout nearly the entire store is damaged around the base and has all the paint coming off.  They had to drill multiple holes around the base in most areas to prevent trapped water from causing even further damage.  Luckily we were able to re-open within a week, and had our shifts transferred to other, nearby stores.  We had Restoration Management Company come in, who salvaged (as best as they could) and dried all of the soaked walls with large air driers.  The HVAC system was also completely cleaned of all soot/debris.  ::)

But hey, on the "bright side," at least some of our outdated computer hardware finally got a forced "tech refresh!"   :lol: ;)

I guess the moral of the story is, don't leave Li-Ion battery packs charging unattended - and to NOT charge/store them near anything potentially combustible!  ;)  Oh, and one last thing - DON'T buy the cheapest brand of tools from Home De(s)pot - particularly if they have Li-Ion batteries that may be of questionable quality (despite still being of a {cheap} name brand and UL listed).  Li-Ions can produce an inferno with no notice and give no initial sign of being problematic.  And, just because something may be safety (in this case UL) certified doesn't necessarily mean it won't ever be defective...

« Last Edit: March 07, 2022, 09:04:31 PM by MVMH_99 » Logged

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Re: Li-Ion Drill Battery "Meltdown" - Home "De(s)pot" Strikes AGAIN!... « Reply #1 on: March 08, 2022, 10:19:50 AM » Author: HPS_250
That sounds awful, just another reason to avoid cheap batteries and never leave them charging unattended I guess. Glad to hear that the store itself was able to be restored and reopened, it sucks that you lost all that equipment and paper though.  ::)

I had somewhat of a similar experience with an off-brand Li-Po drone battery at home a few years ago, although I caught it before it could start a fire. I had left it charging unattended on a table in the backyard, and when I came back an hour later the battery was extremely swollen and too hot to touch. I unplugged it and put it in a bucket of sand so I didn’t have to worry about starting a fire, but I think a fire would have started if I didn’t happen to have the right timing.
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Re: Li-Ion Drill Battery "Meltdown" - Home "De(s)pot" Strikes AGAIN!... « Reply #2 on: March 08, 2022, 10:55:16 AM » Author: Rommie
 :poof: :poof: :poof: :poof: :poof: :poof:

Wow, sounds like an "interesting" experience you won't forget in a hurry  :o

Yeah, Li-Ion packs can be dangerous, this is one area where it pays to buy the best you can afford. If the fire had reached a large store of erm... liquid refreshment... then it could have been a whole lot worse, and a shed-load more expensive  @-@

The main thing is nobody was hurt; property and equipment can be replaced, people can't.

Take care,

Ria  :-* :love:
« Last Edit: March 08, 2022, 11:33:52 AM by Rommie » Logged

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Re: Li-Ion Drill Battery "Meltdown" - Home "De(s)pot" Strikes AGAIN!... « Reply #3 on: March 08, 2022, 08:20:43 PM » Author: Flurofan96
This goes to show how poorly cheaply made electrical goods and lightbulbs can jeopardize your health and safety  :'(

This reminds me of the hoverboard or segways that were introduced back in 2012-13. Saw one as advertised back then, asked my Dad if I can have one, he said no because the li-ion batteries were so badly made that they were an extreme fire hazard - still remember that to this day  :poof:
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