Surprised they haven't been able to blame it on third party battery chargers.
Panasonic is recalling 43,000 Toughbook batteries worldwide, including in Australia, after three caught fire in Asia. The CF-H2 tablet computer batteries were supplied from July 2011 until May 2012, battery model Model CF-VZSU53AW, in manufacturing lots B6NA, B6YA, B71A, B74A, B75A, B76A, B7CA, B7VA, B83A, BBGA, BBHA, BBJA, …
The only battery I've ever had explode was a Panasonic, and yet they put firmware in their cameras to stop "dangerous" third party batteries from working.
It's no surprise
Li-ion batteries have a history of fires as does Tesla cars despite claims to the contrary. What's really bad however is dealing with this batteries when they catch on fire. You don't spray water on them to extinguish the fire you need chemical or halon, etc.
Re: It's no surprise
Damn you sir! Taking your advice during a suspiciously convenient laptop battery fire I attempted to extinguish it with a handy tin of denatured alcohol (the nearest "chemical" to hand).
Far from extinguishing the flames, it counter-intuitively caused a massive fireball to engulf the laptop and me. My house burned down and I am reliably informed that eyebrows are but a distant memory for me now.
I consulted a chemist who informed me that the list of appropriate chemicals for use in this situation is far more constrained than your missive would suggest to the casual reader.
More accuracy in your suggestions, sir! More accuracy!
Re: It's no surprise
Is not humble water a chemical?
H20 ring a bell?
I know from experience the dangers of Li batteries.
It's not much further back than a decade or so when lithium batteries had to be transported by sea—taking them on board passenger aircraft was a no-no. (I was involved with an outfit that had major problems because of sea transport delays.)
From what I can gather, Li batteries are particularly prone to internal shorts from impurities etc. (i.e.: caused by cheap, insufficiently-purified ingredients or metal shards leftover from manufacture).
I had one of the great scares of my life some years back when I had a box of primary Li AA batteries with pigtail connectors (for circuit board mounting) and one battery somehow managed to get its pigtail leads shorted. The batteries, 20 or so, were individually separated in Styrofoam and wrapped in a tough plastic bag which, in turn, was in a solid two-ply cardboard box and the box was in a solid plastic storage container about the side of a milk crate.
I was several metres from the box when the battery exploded. The explosion was deafening, the plastic wrapping was shredded the size of confetti and distributed across the room, tiny bits of Styrofoam the size of a match head were everywhere, the cardboard box disintegrated into tiny pieces and the plastic container had one side completely blown out, and the case of the cell had peeled open from top to bottom. There's no doubt that had the shrapnel (the exploding case) hit me when it exited the plastic container I'd have been seriously injured or even killed (the case left a ricochet dent in the nearby wall).
Moral, there's so much energy in Li batteries that they shouldn't be treated casually as one does with say AA alkaline batteries, also ensure you buy the best brand available.
You get exactly what you don't pay for...
and if you outsource battery manufacture to the wrong company (because they are less expensive) you'll be burning.