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Toshiba: Recalled Battery Sparked Fire

A Toshiba Corp. laptop with a recalled Sony battery pack that hadn't been replaced burst into flames last month in Great Britain.

It was the third Toshiba laptop blaze suspected of being linked to the defective batteries.

Sony Corp. announced the massive recall last year after it was found that the lithium-ion batteries could overheat and catch fire. More than 10 million notebook batteries were affected, including those used by Dell Inc., Lenovo Inc., Apple Inc. and Acer Inc.

Given the recent fires, Japanese electronics maker Toshiba said it will step up efforts to reach all customers who may own a laptop with the recalled battery pack.

Previous fires in Toshiba laptops were reported in Brazil in December 2006, and in Japan in April, according to Toshiba.

In the third fire, the laptop caught fire in the owner's office on May 24 and burned a desk, said Toshiba spokeswoman Yuko Sugahara. No injuries were reported.

Tokyo-based Toshiba is in talks with Sony about reimbursement for expenses for the laptop recall but won't disclose details, Sugahara said.

Sony says the problems were caused by microscopic metal particles that mistakenly got inside the batteries, causing a short-circuit.

Toshiba has placed a list of products with defective batteries on its Web and sent e-mail to those who may own the products. Now it will try to contact other users through its mailing list for repairs and maintenance.

"We are doing our utmost and going over our past information about repairs and maintenance to cover every possibility," Sugahara said.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has logged dozens of reports of lithium-ion batteries overheating.

The massive recall was a major embarrassment for Sony at a time when it has been reviving profits and boosting its image. Tokyo-based Sony has said improvements in production, design and inspection have been made to prevent new batteries from overheating.

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