Lithium batteries should never be unattended while they are charging,” says Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl

BOISE, Idaho (KLIX) The Idaho State Fire Marshal has issued a warning after a fire damaged a building at Boise State University during the weekend. Investigators believe a charging lithium battery caused a fire in the BSU Robotics Lab, according to the preliminary investigation.

The fire marshal said the batteries had been left unattended for more than five hours. “Lithium batteries should never be unattended while they are charging,” says Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl in a press release from the Idaho Department of Insurance, which the marshals office is a division of. “Safety should always be a prime consideration. A little extra caution goes a long way in preventing fires and injuries, especially at this time of year with the number of electronic gifts that will be given and received.”

The marshals office said lithium batteries can become hazardous if they overcharge or overheat. Most lithium batteries are printed with warnings and cautions. The batteries should be kept in a dry, well-ventilated area in their original containers. Plus, they should be kept away from combustible and flammable materials according to the marshal.

Consumers with questions about fire-related incidents are encouraged to contact the Idaho State Fire Marshal’s office by visiting www.doi.idaho.gov or calling 800-721-3272 toll-free statewide.