Speed Reads

when electronics attack

Elderly woman injured by exploding laptop

A 72-year-old Pennsylvania woman was injured Sunday when her Dell laptop exploded on her lap, causing chemical burns to her arm, chest, foot, and face.

Loretta Luff was watching television when she began to smell something odd and heard what she described as a strange sound. Suddenly, "the battery just exploded and it blew the laptop over," she told NBC10. Luff looked down and saw that her shirt was on fire, and so was the rug. Luff quickly pulled her shirt off and used it to smother the rug fire, as other small fires began to pop up around her.

She was able to get the flames under control with water, and firefighters took care of extinguishing hot spots. Firefighters discovered burn marks on Luff's carpet, desk, and dog bed, as well as metal shards from the six-year-old laptop. "They couldn't believe what they saw," she said.

Luff was treated at an area hospital and later released. NBC10 attempted to contact Dell's corporate office for a statement, but said that its media number and email address did not work. Luff hasn't spoken with anyone from the company yet, and officials are still looking into the explosion and what set it off. --Catherine Garcia