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Laptop on Bed Caused Fire that Killed 6

Fire Services' investigation of blaze that killed members of Shaer family shows laptop overheated.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/15/2012, 9:02 AM

Eviatar Shaer (z"l)
Eviatar Shaer (z"l)
Israel news photo from the family

The Fire Services' investigation of the blaze that killed six members of the Shaer family in Rehovot has found that the fire was caused by a laptop computer that was placed on a bed.

Major General Shachar Ayalon, Commissioner of Firefighting and Rescue, appointed a committee of inquiry on the night of the fire, March 26. Headed by the commander of the Rishon LeTzion Fire Services, officer Yaakov Shani, the committee included professional firefighting officers and representatives of the Israel Police.

The team found that the laptop computer had been placed on a bed's mattress, causing it to overheat and set the mattress on fire. The burning mattress emitted great heat and a large amount of smoke and soot in a short time, causing the quick death of the victims from asphyxiation.

Officer Shimon Gamliel, head of Rehovot Fire Services, presented the results of the investigation to the widow and bereaved mother, Avivit Shaer.

The fire services emphasized in a statement that a laptop computer emits heat and therefore requires ventilation of its inner parts. "Placing a laptop computer on a soft surface blocks the ventilation openings, causing heat to build up within the computer box. In some cases, such heating could cause a fire to develop."

The fire killed Guy Shaer (38) and his children Eliav (11), Eviatar (8), Amitai (7), Shira (3) and Itamar (one year old). The wife and mother, Avivit, was the family's sole survivor.