A severe house fire has one woman in Woodbury warning others about a problem that people need to be aware of as the number of household gadgets continues to climb.
Officials say it smoldered and burned for hours. Woodbury firefighters responded to a call from a neighbor on Tuesday afternoon -- and Cheri Rose came home devastated.
"I had no idea what would have started the fire," said Rose. "I don't leave things plugged in usually. I never would have thought of the laptop. That was not even crossing my mind. "
Investigators say a laptop that was just a couple of years old is to blame. Rose admitted she left it sitting on her couch while it was charging and went to work. Investigators believe it caught fire and burned the couch, the stairs to the second floor and much of the home Rose shares with her 7-year-old granddaughter.
"It's scary to think it sat on the couch forever and we sleep upstairs" says Rose. "If it had happened when I was in my room and she was in hers, what would we have done to get to each other to get out?"
Latest statistics from the Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division show there were 53 fires in which electrical devices were a factor -- resulting in $1.7 million in damage between 2007 and 2011. These electrical devices include:
Of the 53 fires, six fires were caused by computers, one by a computer monitor.
Commander John Wallgren, of the Woodbury Fire Department, said the brand doesn't matter as much as the potential danger when a laptop is left on a bed or sofa and the vent for cooling is blocked.
"I can tell you, I'm guilty of it too. These laptops are like a book. We throw them on the bed or couch. We need to be a little more aware of electronics," says Commander Wallgren.
That's why Rose is speaking out -- in hopes that raising awareness can help save someone else some heartache.
"Lesson hard, lesson learned. I won't ever leave mine plugged in again ever --if I ever get one," she said.
Anyone who wishes to help Rose with her recovery can go into any US Bank location next week and ask to make a deposit to the Cheri Rose Benefit Fund. Donations can also be mailed to the following address:
c/o Thomson Reuters
610 Opperman Dr.
Eagan, MN 55123