A weekend fire at a BSU Robotics Lab was apparently caused by lithium batteries left on a charger, according to a preliminary investigation by the Idaho State Fire Marshal’s Office and Boise Fire Department. The batteries had been unattended since about 2:00 p.m., authorities said. A passerby smelled smoke and reported the fire at 6:30 p.m.
“Lithium batteries should never be unattended while they are charging,” said Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl. “Safety should always be a prime consideration. A little extra caution goes a long way in preventing fires and injuries, especially at this time of year with the number of electronic gifts that will be given and received.”
If a lithium battery becomes overcharged or overheats, it can become hazardous. Most lithium batteries have warnings printed on the labels, officials said.
Cautions include short-circuiting, charging, exposing to excessive heat, crushing, puncturing, or disassembling the battery. Lithium batteries should be stored in their original containers in a dry, well-ventilated area. They should always be kept apart from combustible or flammable materials.