Man Claims Nintendo Wii Started House Fire

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Man Claims Nintendo Wii Started House Fire

Colorado Springs-resident Trevor Pellegrin claims that his Nintendo Wii recently started a fire in his mobile home.

When a console is released to retailers one thing you can generally count on is that the people who made it probably spent no small amount of time mulling over the various bullet points they wanted to throw on its box. Chances are, however, in the case of the Wii, that Nintendo didn't haven't to think too hard when it decided to not include "sets your house on fire" on its list.

According to reports that surfaced last Friday however, that's exactly what one Colorado man is claiming his Wii did. Returning home from a meeting, Colorado Springs-resident Trevor Pellegrin received a phone call from neighbors telling him that his mobile home had caught fire. The fire ruined some of his clothing, destroyed his television and additionally caused "extensive smoke damage" to the roof of his home. An Xbox 360 present during the fire however, seemed to have survived intact. While Nintendo has yet to offer any sort of comment about the incident, Pellegrin has indicated that fire investigators are "99 percent sure" that his Wii was the source of the blaze. "This had nothing to do with the wires," he said. "It started in the actual console of the Wii."

The mystery, of course, is how exactly the popular console burst into flames. While Pellegrin admits he was using it to watch Netflix earlier that day, he claims to have shut it off when he left his home. And even if he hadn't, we're pretty sure that people have played their Wii's for extended periods of time in the past without starting fires. Pellegrin's insurance company intends to survey the scene and X-Ray the Wii to see if that yields any answers. Suffice it to say, we'll be interested to see what conclusions they come to.

Source: GameSpot, KKTVO 11

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The console's been on the market for nine years. If it did start the fire, and assuming there was nothing in it that shouldn't have been, that's still at worst indicative of a presumably rare manufacturing defect. I wouldn't compare this to things like overheating batteries in mobile phones or the DS Lite's hinge crack, which are typically design defects that will affect far more units and could've more easily been prevented.

P.S. Thanks

Calling it now: Stupid American attempts insurance fraud and sees extra dolla in selling his story to journalists. He had to save his xbox, though I would have recommended letting that console take the fall instead, as it seems to get a fair bit hotter than a wii.

Yeah, I think we would know by now if Wiis had a spontanious combust ability. Although it is true that Bowser is now in employment by Nintendo, so...you know...

Xsjadoblayde:
Calling it now: Stupid American attempts insurance fraud and sees extra dolla in selling his story to journalists. He had to save his xbox, though I would have recommended letting that console take the fall instead, as it seems to get a fair bit hotter than a wii.

Well sure the wii is gonna be th source of the fire... I mean shucks most electrical appliances will start a fire if you pour lighter fluid in them.

An Xbox 360 present during the fire however, seemed to have survived intact.

Microsoft propaganda stunt confirmed.

My Wii has been broken for years. Really should throw the thing away or get it fixed.

Wonder if it's a legit Wii, or a "used" one bought by a Buy&Sell store somewhere. I've been in those shops before and it looks like a mad science lab with how many consoles they have opened up and pieced differently. They try to do 'repairs' on the ones that are sold to them so they can resell them as refurbished or 'used' devices. Who knows if he didn't get one that was tinkered with, unofficially, and that particular tinkering is what caused the fire. Maybe this individual tinkered with the device himself?

Maybe something got into it like a bug or some really flammable dust? Odd that a wii would catch fire; those things run fairly cool compared to other consoles of that generation. I doubt we'll ever find out what really happened.

My money's on the 360 lighting the wii on fire: they don't play well with others.

Xsjadoblayde:
Calling it now: Stupid American attempts insurance fraud and sees extra dolla in selling his story to journalists. He had to save his xbox, though I would have recommended letting that console take the fall instead, as it seems to get a fair bit hotter than a wii.

Yeah, I think we would know by now if Wiis had a spontanious combust ability. Although it is true that Bowser is now in employment by Nintendo, so...you know...

I'm mildly upset that you beat me to it. I've had times where I left my Launch Date Wii on for days straight, and gotten more hours on it in a month than I have sleep, right up until the WiiU came out and took over those responsibilities. If this isn't a set up on purpose then it's an idiot trying to turn a bad situation into gold, and I'll eat every single word if he's not lying.

There's also the possibility that the dude, like most console owners, didn't ever clean it and the dust caked inside caused it to overheat and catch fire... But still, I doubt he's got much of a claim against Nintendo considering the age of the console and the fact that I've never heard of Wii's spontaneously catching fire. Hope the dude had some form of home or rental insurance that covered damage by fire, cuz otherwise he's screwed.

flying_whimsy:
My money's on the 360 lighting the wii on fire: they don't play well with others.

This... I mean, a "Red Ring" is another phrase for a ring of fire... and I think the Wii was pushed into that ring of fire by that 360...

Other than that, I can assume the dude was trying to find some excuse to blame Nintendo for something negative... like when people say "Thanks Obama" in an insulting demeanor...

I wouldn't be surprised if it was another case of daisy-chaining power strips or using ground-to-ungrounded adapters.

All the signs point to a standard electric socket SNAFU, but we'll see. After all, I'm no insurance fraud investigator, nor do I play one on TV.

Why am I the only person that is concerned that a man that lives in a trailer park has not one but two gaming consoles.

I mean seriously, thats some pretty high living for the pawn shop tax bracket.

Pr0:
Why am I the only person that is concerned that a man that lives in a trailer park has not one but two gaming consoles.

I mean seriously, thats some pretty high living for the pawn shop tax bracket.

From the looks of it he lives in a RV on his dads property
as in the news piece they interviewed his dad and mentioned his younger siblings play on the consoles aswell.

Pr0:
Why am I the only person that is concerned that a man that lives in a trailer park has not one but two gaming consoles.

I mean seriously, thats some pretty high living for the pawn shop tax bracket.

Not really they are both very old consoles, he could have pikced them up for mabey 100$ between the two used easily. Also compared to the cost of a house even at full price they still would cost pocket change.

There's a number of factors which likely led to the blaze.

Manufacturing defect, older piece of hardware, dust in the system (which is actually VERY tightly put together), quite possibly not shutting the console off (I believe the Wii had a "soft off" setting, indicated by an orange light; red light was "OFF off"), unauthorized tinkering, dropping the console disturbing the electronics inside (an electrical short?)...

Still, that image of the melted Wii seems to clearly imply that the console was at the centre of the blaze; and quite likely the cause of it.

But I will make one observation from my own Wii:

The console seemed to run a little hot.

Unusually hot, but not worryingly hot; my custom-built PC (without any serious overclocking or crazy cooling system) sees much more heat, so it didn't come off as more than an odd observation. I always thought it had something to do with the narrower/denser hardware (and maybe the lower hardware power, could have Nintendo deliberately done some "minor overclocking" to get some more juice out of the system?), but more likely a lack of ventilation; there aren't many places for the air to get in and out of the system, so a lot the hot air doesn't leave the little thing and the heat builds up. This little detail with the Wii having a slightly higher operating temperature than other similar electronics may have aggravated the actual cause of the fire.

Just looking at my old Wii compared to the Wii U... the newer console does have a bit more ventilation, and I believe it does run a fair bit cooler. In other words, Nintendo has already learned from the Wii's higher operating temperature and made the necessary correction with their next console.

Nevertheless, it was a sufficiently rare event that I don't have any concerns about it or on any other consoles; at most, you just have to keep an eye on how hot your console is running and ensure you've properly turned it off when you leave it unattended. Besides, Xenoblade Chronicles killed my launch-model Wii a while back; that game was known to put a higher strain on the system (especially older models), maybe the higher heat is what made it even worse.

Clean the dust out of your stuff, people. Get some canned air or a (decent, as in $100+) air compressor. Your electronics, refrigerators, freezers, and other stuff like to breath, too.

This kinda crap is one reason why I like actual cutoff switches (easy to reach too) for all of my electronic stuff. I'm starting to buy more and more power strips with individual switched outlets. Despite energy concerns, electronics makers are obsessed with putting in more power hungry "standby" features. (And spoiling people into wanting those conveniences.)

I'll give the UK props for this: having wall outlets built in switches and mandatory fused plugs are smart design choices.

Deathfish15:
Wonder if it's a legit Wii, or a "used" one bought by a Buy&Sell store somewhere. I've been in those shops before and it looks like a mad science lab with how many consoles they have opened up and pieced differently. They try to do 'repairs' on the ones that are sold to them so they can resell them as refurbished or 'used' devices. Who knows if he didn't get one that was tinkered with, unofficially, and that particular tinkering is what caused the fire. Maybe this individual tinkered with the device himself?

Despite what people say about the RV wiring or being stupid with extension cords and/or adapters, I'd say it was either dust or that, if not the typical insurance fraud scheme. That's probably why the insurance company wants to x-ray it, to see if and where the fire started in the console itself.

Hopefully he wasn't stupid enough to try an arson based get rich quick scam, or think that he could blame the Wii when he had way too much plugged into a 18 gauge 12 foot spaghetti cord. He said the investigators are 99% the Wii itself was the source. It would be hilarious if he was also lying on the news. The good news is no one was hurt in this mess.

captcha: push the edge
It's "Push it to the limit. Walk along the razor's edge," bud. (I think captcha fried its brain, too.)

Pr0:
Why am I the only person that is concerned that a man that lives in a trailer park has not one but two gaming consoles.

I mean seriously, thats some pretty high living for the pawn shop tax bracket.

Trailer parks have a LOT of luxury, around here at least. Cars more expensive than their houses, massive televisions and PCs to match. I'd say probably 20-30% are like that, the rest actually being 'poor'.

There's nothing unusual at all about having multiple NEW consoles, let alone ones that are a decade old.

Hairless Mammoth:
I'll give the UK props for this: having wall outlets built in switches and mandatory fused plugs are smart design choices.

Wait a second, the US doesn't have fused plugs and can't actually turn off electric sockets?

Then again I'm not entirely sure why I'm surprised now I think on it since when I go on holiday (usually around Europe) they don't have switches on the sockets there either. I guess I'm just surprised its not more standard and its not something I ever thought about because its something I just accept as normal.

On topic: Assuming no foul play or fiddling with the console its probably just an outrageously unlucky and rare manufacturing problem or issue with a particular component. Sucks, but given how many consoles they've sold and the relative lack of "this console burned down my house" stories I think its safe to say this is probably just a one-off freak accident.

perfect opportunity to post this

but OT tho, I do think it probably was insurance fraud, either that or he was way too lucky for such little amount of stuff to have burned

or the xbox 360 tried to off the competition, you know how tech is

Lightspeaker:

Hairless Mammoth:
I'll give the UK props for this: having wall outlets built in switches and mandatory fused plugs are smart design choices.

Wait a second, the US doesn't have fused plugs and can't actually turn off electric sockets?

Then again I'm not entirely sure why I'm surprised now I think on it since when I go on holiday (usually around Europe) they don't have switches on the sockets there either. I guess I'm just surprised its not more standard and its not something I ever thought about because its something I just accept as normal.

On topic: Assuming no foul play or fiddling with the console its probably just an outrageously unlucky and rare manufacturing problem or issue with a particular component. Sucks, but given how many consoles they've sold and the relative lack of "this console burned down my house" stories I think its safe to say this is probably just a one-off freak accident.

We do have them available and are pretty much mandatory in higher risk locations like the kitchen or bathrooms, but they can easily be purchased and installed just about anywhere. Most places just have a fuse box where several sockets will be connected to a certain line, once tripped you just have to go find the central box and either reset the breaker or put in a new fuse.

RVs have fuse boxes too, the fact that allegedly the Wii was sucking up enough power to light itself on fire either means it only needed a small amount of power to light itself, the fuse was somehow broken or Jerry-rigged, or it was something else entirely.

*Edit: after googling fused plugs it turns out we don't have those, what I was thinking was breaker outlets.

Also mobile home might be a clue.

It might not have had anything to do with the wires, doesn't mean there wasn't a power surge that didn't bust a capacitor or something, mobile homes aren't exactly known for their 5 star electrical reliability.

$10 says he wasn't using a surge protector, if this turns out to be real and not insurance fraud.

One in a million odds are met one in a million times on average.

Yeah... Uhm... so?

It's a device powered by electricity, that produces heat as a side effect of it's primary function. (and also contains a battery).

That's an innate fire risk both simply because of the electricity, and the heat.

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Just as sooner or later someone's TV or PC will catch on fire, or some other random piece of electronics.
Chances are, there are other consoles that have caused fires in the past somewhere in the world...
Hopefully not often, but I mean, this is the only account of a Wii catching fire in something like 100 million consoles sold... So...

Mobile phones and laptop PC's have considerably worse records in that regard.
(Though in both cases the main culprit can be traced back to lithium Ion batteries. - A definite explosion hazard, and therefore restricted on aircraft for fairly good reasons.)

There is so little logic in this story it's causing me physical discomfort...

Trailer dweller from Colorado says his wii caused a fire, eh? I smell shenanigans.

Ten to one that the electrical wiring, if not the power strip that was used, was faulty. It's a mobile home, it's not like some contractor's gonna go and make sure everything's all nice and kosher! Heck, a lot of regular homes have terrible wiring oversights that can be credited to the old owner's brother-in-law with electrical tape and a few plastic caps going "Aw, fuck it, that'll do". So why not a mobile home?

I'm reminded of the first few months I spent in my current house. The fuse box dated back to the forties and we had express orders not to start the toaster and microwave at the same time at the risk of popping a fuse.

So we move in, doot de doo, I plug in my old beige PC from that era, start it - and blam. PSU turned into a smoking pile of overheated metal in one second flat.

teh_Canape:
perfect opportunity to post this

Good post sir. I hand over one of my internets to you. :D

OT: If the Wii truly was a major source of house fires, we would have heard it before this. I always dust my consoles and PC every 5 or so months in case I do stupid things like leaving them on for more than 48 hours.

Gee, an electronic device potentially caused a fire. What are the odds of that?

Well the Xbox was bulletproof, I guess it seems the Xbox 360 is fireproof. I wonder what superpower the Xbone will eventually display?

Captcha: "What is for dinner?" Apparently "Double portions of cock" wasn't the right answer

"All I did was tape match box scratch pads on a DVD and throw a box of matches in the guts of the Wii along with some oil containers. Just turned it on and left the home."

Is it possible that the Wii burst into flames? Sure, it's an electronic device and electricity can start fires. Is it likely? Not at all. Over 100 million units sold and almost no reports of fire. This guy would have won the lottery of implausibility.

First time reading that a Nintendo console started a fire. I would understand if it was some old nVidia card, but not the Wii.

My money is on a (literal) bug getting in the console, short-circuiting something, and having his body catch fire.

Don't know how flammable the inside of a Wii is though. Maybe the bug brought friends?

Hairless Mammoth:

This kinda crap is one reason why I like actual cutoff switches (easy to reach too) for all of my electronic stuff. I'm starting to buy more and more power strips with individual switched outlets. Despite energy concerns, electronics makers are obsessed with putting in more power hungry "standby" features. (And spoiling people into wanting those conveniences.)

I'll give the UK props for this: having wall outlets built in switches and mandatory fused plugs are smart design choices.

That's something I found weird when visiting the US, here in Australia all wall sockets etc have switches for obvious safety reasons, does the US simply not understand simple safety regulations?

RicoADF:

Hairless Mammoth:

This kinda crap is one reason why I like actual cutoff switches (easy to reach too) for all of my electronic stuff. I'm starting to buy more and more power strips with individual switched outlets. Despite energy concerns, electronics makers are obsessed with putting in more power hungry "standby" features. (And spoiling people into wanting those conveniences.)

I'll give the UK props for this: having wall outlets built in switches and mandatory fused plugs are smart design choices.

That's something I found weird when visiting the US, here in Australia all wall sockets etc have switches for obvious safety reasons, does the US simply not understand simple safety regulations?

Dude, we use an archaic system of measurements (affectionately referred to as "freedom units") and have so many lobbyists and part-time corporate executives holding political office that it's a wonder we even still have a decent safety record for many things. It's basically up to your common sense on a lot of things over here, because it's a toss up between whether a regulation was in place truly for safety, or to benefit corporations' and/or unions'/professionals' well being. (Not to say unions are all bad, but I've seen/heard of many cases where a regulation seemed to only add time to a job.)

I don't know how many of these are being installed, but I'm seeing more and more advertisements and store displays for outlets with built in USB chargers. Again, no switch to shut off the thing when not in use, so a fault like (potentially in) this Wii could, well, you get the picture. Also, the power drain while idle isn't much, but it adds up when there are thousands in existence. If I ever move into a house with them, first thing I'm doing is taking them out (and maybe putting in GFCIs just to spite fate).

MajorTomServo:
My money is on a (literal) bug getting in the console, short-circuiting something, and having his body catch fire.

Don't know how flammable the inside of a Wii is though. Maybe the bug brought friends?

That seen plausible-

I think it could make sense since he was watching Netflix with that console. Maybe it got overheated too much despite he had turn it off?

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