BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — A Blue Springs family says their vacuum battery exploded, sparking a fire that caused heavy damage to their home.
Fire officials said this isn’t a rare occurrence.
The Thomas family purchased a new battery online for their Dyson vacuum when the original stopped working. The description said it was compatible. The voltage, the model number — it all matched.
“It says they’re compatible, but they’re really not,” Mike Thomas said.
Six months later, it exploded in their closet.
“It was all 100% match, so that’s really frustrating,” Thomas said. “And I can get it if it just stopped working after a week, but to have your house burned down — that’s a little bit different.”
His family woke up to alarms from their security system and a growing fire in the closet.
“Our vacuum battery had actually exploded and hit the glass,” Thomas said.
His wife Amy saw bright orange flames under the door and ran to wake up their three boys.
“I tell the boys, ‘If I start crying, just remind me that we made it out alive and we’re all safe,’ and that gets me through it,” Amy Thomas said.
“It’s just that I lost everything, all my clothes, everything I got ready with. You don’t realize how many things you need until it’s gone.”
Chip Portz with the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District said the investigation showed the lithium-ion battery started the fire.
“It’s over-charging and creating more heat than it can dissipate,” he said.
Portz said they’ve had two of these cases in the last two months. The second involved a hoverboard lithium-ion battery.
He said it’s best to buy a battery from the same company that makes the device and power source. If that’s not possible, do your research and read the reviews.
Lithium-ion batteries can also be found in smart phones, electronic cigarettes and even cars.
“If you can be present when the device is charging and not leave it unattended, that would probably be safest,” Portz said.
From now on, the Thomas family said they’ll always buy batteries straight from the manufacturer.
“There’s no shortcuts to it. Safety comes first at home for sure,” Amy Thomas said.
They’ll be out of their home for about a year while they rebuild.
But Amy Thomas did get some good news Thursday: They found her wedding dress in the closet. It was the only thing that was salvageable.
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