This is what an exploded PowerBook battery looks like. You wouldn’t want that in your lap when it happens.
Unfortunately, I’ve no idea how it happened. The pictures were posted to the forums at 99Mac, a Swedish website. Not only do the forums require a lengthy registration procedure, they’re in Swedish.
However, there’s a post about it in German at Fscklog, which when translated with Babelfish says:
“A Forumsthread with 99mac (registration necessarily) shows pictures of a PowerBook Akkus exploded. The associated text is in, to that extent Swedish held I unfortunately not too smart from it, was hurt however hopefully nothing and nobody. Whether the Akku was part of Apples of last recall action, might be able to be determined with the current density hardly posthum. It obviously concerned in June 2005 acquired 1,67GHz a PowerBook G4.”
UPDATE: Adrian from 99mac kindly translated the original forum post. Here’s the full, terrifying story!
“The PowerBook G4 1,67 MHz was bought on the 16th of June 2005. It was the best thing he ever bought until the incident happend about two weeks ago. The PowerBook was charging and he was in his bed when he heard a sound, like when you pour water in a hot fry-pan. A thick white smoke rose from the PowerBook. He pulls the power cord quickly and removes the battery with a coin. When he lifts the PowerBook there are burn marks on the desk. There are also burn marks indicating flames from the ports on the right side of the PowerBook.
With a towel he carries the still smoking battery to the kitchen. The smoke doesn’t feel healthy, so he opens a window. He went back to the PowerBook to check it out, but it doesn’t take long until he hears more sounds from the kitchen. He rushes in to the kitchen just in time to see a large flame, about half a meter high, bursting from the battery! More smoke, but after that flame it doesn’t happen anything else, and the battery is cool an hour and a half later.
He points out that he has received good response from Apple (Store). They cared about the problem and was serious about it. He got to talk to people up the chain. Maybe he’ll get a MacBook Pro instead, although he says he’d actually prefers the tested G4 over a rev. A MacBook Pro. But Apple hasn’t decided yet how to compensate him.
The serial number on the battery was destroyed, so he couldn’t check it against Apple’s list of recalled batteries, but he bought it after those problem should have ended.
No one got hurt this time, but he says he doesn’t want to think about what would have been the result if this would have happened when he had the PowerBook in his lap or if he wasn’t at home at the time.”