Friday, September 30, 2011

FIRE!!! Who'da Thought A Camera Battery Could BURST INTO FLAMES?

Who would ever guess that a compact 1x2-inch plastic box could explode and burst into flames, potentially setting my apartment on fire and decimating everything I own? This from a cheap little camera battery? Everybody say WHAT THE FUCK.

So a couple months ago I was looking to purchase a stand-by battery for my Nikon D5000 camera, so that I'd always have a fully charged battery if the original ran out of juice while in the field. A Nikon brand battery was a lofty $35—while off-brand replacements I found on ebay that seemed perfectly compatible were a mere $6. What could the difference possibly be (that's foreshadowing, cool cats)...

I'm sitting in the living room here at my desk one evening, when, behind me, I hear an explosion that sounded like a wall had collapsed... Poor Abby & Spencer went charging from the living room. I turned around and saw FIRE! Everybody: WHAT THE FUCK?!

Wedged between the sofa and a bookcase I have a five-plug circuit breaker, and there was a nifty little bonfire rising three inches into the air, with a waft of crisp black smoke. I high-tailed it to the kitchen, filled a glass with water and doused the flames.

At that point, I had no idea what had happened, until I spotted the evidence: the camera battery, which had been plugged into the circuit breaker for a week, obviously had overheated and burst. I found the casing clear on the other side of the room.

The absurd irony is that when the miniature disaster occurred, I was actually online at, looking to replace the cheapo battery, which had already proved to be a worthless piece of shit. It worked once; when I charged it after the first use, it simply failed to juice up the camera. Obviously, you get what you pay for.

Of course, the horror of the mini disaster is: What might have happened had I not been home? The wooden bookcase was singed and the sofa had a series of black scorch marks on it (thankfully, my year-long search for a new sofa had been resolved: a new sectional was delivered the next week, and that sofa was roadkill).

What's to say that both the bookcase and sofa wouldn't have burst into flames, spreading to the rest of the apartment... I can't even begin to consider the potential repercussions.

I did contact the company that sold me the crappy battery and enclosed the picture above, encouraging them to protect themselves from a potential lawsuit by taking it off the market. No surprise: My $6 was hastily refunded with a generic apology the next day.

It's the little things that matter so much... like knowing you won't return home at the end of the day and find your life in a pile of ash and smoke. Mercy.

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