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HP recalls 135,000 laptops over fire alarm

An overheating problem in batteries used in some HP laptops can cause their casings to melt and even catch fire

The US Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a product recall notice on a range of HP Pavilion and HP/Compaq Presario and Evo laptops.

The problem lies in the battery packs, which can overheat and melt their plastic casings and, in a few cases, even catch fire.

According to the CPSC, an "internal short can cause the battery cells to overheat and melt or char the plastic case, posing a burn and fire hazard".

So far there have been 16 reports of batteries overheating, including four in the US, and four reports of "minor property damage" as a result. There have been no reports of any injuries.

The recalled lithium ion rechargeable battery packs are used with various HP and Compaq notebook computers. The recalled battery packs were manufactured between March 2004 and September 2004, and all have bar code labels starting with GC, IA, L0 or L1.

A full listing of the products containing batteries that may need replacing has been posted on the CPSC's Web site. HP has said it is setting up a site to handle queries, but the site had not gone live as of this writing.