Saturday, August 05, 2006

Why you shouldn't bring your laptop fishing

It's just common sense that bringing your laptop comupter with you on a fishing trip is going to ruin the peace and tranquility. Apparently it can also ruin your vintage pickup truck, camping gear, rifle, cell phone, gps, and wallet. It might even leave you stranded out in the middle of the desert in 110 degree heat.

"Exploding" Dell Laptop Destroys Truck, Imperils Outsdoorsmen (

It all started as Thomas Forqueran and a friend, Rod Riddle, were packing up after a two-day fishing trip at Lake Mead National Forest in Nevada, on July 13, 2006. Truck Fire Thomas Forqueran's vintage Ford truck post-fire Happier Times Forqueran and "Jenny" in happier times Forqueran put his Dell Inspiron laptop on the floor of the passenger side of his truck as the two men started packing. Riddle heard a popping noise coming from the cab while loading equipment but was not alarmed until Forqueran smelled smoke. "Flames were shooting about three feet out the window," the 62-year-old Forqueran said. "I ran to the driver's side door and the flames were rushing at me and the three boxes of bullets in the glove compartment. It was extremely accelerated. It was like someone was firing napalm." Forqueran screamed to Riddle for water, hoping to save "Jenny," his 1966 Ford F-250. "I could tell by the look of the fire from where I was that there was no way we were going to put out the fire," wrote Riddle in his hand-scrawled witness testimonial. Both men ran for cover as bullets zinged past and the rapidly spreading flames in the cab of the antique truck reached the gas tank. Everything in the truck was destroyed in the subsequent fuel explosion. "Flames were shooting 12 feet into the air above the truck for about 10 minutes," Forqueran said. "There was a very large pillar of black smoke in the sky."

Park Ranger Brandon Marsmaker responded to that pillar of smoke. "When I examined the vehicle I noted the remnants of shell casings," Marsmaker wrote in his incident report. "I also noted what appeared to be the remains of a laptop computer. … The flame pattern indicates that
it started on the passenger side of the vehicle and primarily worked its way back to the bed of the truck. … All items inside the vehicle were destroyed by the fire."

The flames engulfed Forqueran's wallet, Winchester rifle, GPS unit, cell phone, camera and both men's camping gear -- Forqueran estimates close to $5,000 worth of damage, not to mention a $500 tow. The men were trapped in a breezeless canyon for eight hours in 110-degree heat, with few supplies, before the tow truck finally arrived. By that time, Riddle was sick from heat exhaustion, which had set in that morning -- before Forqueran's Dell Inspiron 1300/B130 set
his truck ablaze.
You've been warned. Leave the laptop at home.

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