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Exploding PC Burns Man to Death

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 81 comments

A young software engineer was found dead in front of his burned-up computer, however the cause of the explosion has yet to be determined, baffling police.

As a rule of thumb, it's not nice to make light of the misfortunes of others, especially when physical harm comes into play. There are certainly numerous jokes that involve exploding PCs, especially where gaming, overclocking, and porn is concerned. Many of them have no tact for obvious reasons, and there's no doubt that readers may recall one or two by the end of this article. But truth be told, news surrounding a burned up man sitting in front of smoking debris that once served as a PC only conjures up comical images seen in cartoons.

According to The Times of India, a 28-year-old software engineer--named only as Vijayakumar in the article--was found dead this past Friday in his home on Telugu Brahmin Street in Velachery. Vijayakumar shared the house with two other software engineers--Vignesh (26) and Ram Prasad (26)--although the latter roommate was the only other tenant present at the time of Vijayakumar's demise. Apparently, Prasad went to take a bath, and then rushed back out after hearing a loud blast. He told police that he saw the charred remains of Vijayakumar still sitting in front of a smoldering PC... and then fainted.

So what happened to Vijayakumar? According to local police, the PC exploded and burned it user alive. “We are yet to ascertain the cause of the blast," a police officer told Times of India. "The computer was completely damaged and the deceased was charred." The officer also went on to say that the case has baffled the investigating officers, sounding rather unbelievable, and something they had never seen before.

"But the scene of the accident seems to suggest that the youth was killed in an accident as his body was in the sitting position in front of the burnt computer,” the official added.

For now, the police have not offered any other information. Certainly many factors could have caused the PC to short circuit: faulty wiring, spilled liquids, maybe even a jolt of lightning crashing through the power outlet. Perhaps the power supply arced and burned him up on the spot, or the PC had faulty power cables. It would be understandable had Vijayakumar's demise been the direct result of an exploding battery in a laptop. But an exploding PC? That remains questionable. Still, because Vijayakumar was found burned in a sitting position, its easy to assume that whatever happened was close to instantaneous.

And where was Vignesh during the entire incident? No, something about the entire incident sounds fishy. With Prasad the only other individual in the house, the grim setting sounds like a plot yanked straight out of a thriller movie. Hopefully, more information will surface soon because, quite frankly, if there are faulty parts out there on the market, then we as consumers need to know. Period.

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  • 3 Hide
    idisarmu , April 7, 2009 1:31 AM
    That is one of the worst ways to die.

    At least he may have died doing something he loved... unless he was debugging some code.

    Poor guy.
  • 6 Hide
    one-shot , April 7, 2009 1:31 AM
    I'm not sure how the parts inside of a PC could cause the steel/aluminum case to explode and burn the user instantly. Some other factor has obviously caused this. On the comical/silly side...maybe Mac will have a new sales pitch to counter the recent Microsoft ads. Macs will not explode and kill you!.
  • 1 Hide
    SneakySnake , April 7, 2009 1:35 AM
    it could've been a CRT screen blowing up, although thats more of an explosion of glass then a fire
  • Display all 81 comments.
  • 8 Hide
    jhansonxi , April 7, 2009 1:43 AM
    Must be a new variant of Conficker. Should have installed Symantec AV. :D 
  • 4 Hide
    eduardor2k , April 7, 2009 1:46 AM
    looks like an april fools joke...
  • 1 Hide
    outacontrolpimp , April 7, 2009 1:51 AM
    latest news: Conflicker virus adds bomb into pc
  • 4 Hide
    hercules , April 7, 2009 2:07 AM
    How large would of the blast had to of been to kill him instantly? It doesn't really make sence at all?
  • 1 Hide
    Tindytim , April 7, 2009 2:10 AM
    Conflicker actually propgrates nanites by causing a specific spark pattern in MBR1000 Black Mobile Broadband Router, exploiting a rare silicon defect:
    This may be what caused the fire.
  • 1 Hide
    Pei-chen , April 7, 2009 2:15 AM
    Skynet is killing all programmers. All that’s gonna left to fight for humanity is lawyers and their twisted words. (Maybe they can destroy the robots with logical loop)
  • 0 Hide
    daft , April 7, 2009 2:20 AM
    i think i have read about this type of thing before, thats right, weekly world magazine
  • 4 Hide
    ravenware , April 7, 2009 2:39 AM
    eduardor2klooks like an april fools joke...

    Or a mob a car bomb except a pc bomb? :) 
  • 0 Hide
    MoUsE-WiZ , April 7, 2009 2:44 AM
    conjures up comical images seen in cartoons

    Die Hard 4 actually.
  • -3 Hide
    NuclearShadow , April 7, 2009 2:51 AM
    lol @ the fan boys thumbing down my comment for making a simple and obvious joke.

    Anyways thinking about this even more chances are he had a all in one PC as it just wouldn't make sense for his PC to be right in his face otherwise. It doesn't say his monitor simply exploded.
  • 6 Hide
    tayb , April 7, 2009 2:56 AM
    It is not possible for a PC to explode. He can be electrocuted quite easily especially but there is nothing in a PC that can cause an explosion.
  • -1 Hide
    w4ffles , April 7, 2009 2:58 AM
    This is why you're not supposed to buy sub-par power supplies. If the power supply had faulty wiring/grounding, there's a chance that he could've been electrocuted before the computer exploded and further burned him. Just my two cents.
  • 0 Hide
    sonofliberty08 , April 7, 2009 3:03 AM
    Die Hard 4 ??? or maybe his mate set this plan to kill him ......
  • 2 Hide
    qwed88 , April 7, 2009 3:11 AM
    I wonder if he had a thermite kill switch, that went horribly wrong?
  • 3 Hide
    scook9 , April 7, 2009 3:22 AM
    Actually there is one thing in computers that can explode and do a very considerable amount of damage, Capacitors. However, one that could do what has been described would have to be on the order of an entire Farad, which would hold an amazingly high amount of charge (1 coulomb/volt to be exact - a lightening strike carries 3-5 coulombs or charge typically to put that in perspective) and be about as large as a 5 gallon paint bucket. SO, we can probably rule out capacitors as the source....just my 2 cents (and some of what being an electrical engineering student has taught me so far).

    My guess would be that it was a CRT that blew and "charred" him. The gasses that come out would be considerably pressurized and can be amazingly hot while not burning themselves, they could badly damage a person (example - steam burns). It is entirely possible that the reporter made the common (noob) mistake of calling the monitor the computer. Definately interested to hear a little more about this.

    And for the people saying that there was a bomb in the copmuter, while an entertaining thought, not likely. As it would need to be a focused directional blast like a claymore in order to do what was described without leveling the house, Also he was charred, not "fragged" (I couldnt resist)
  • 3 Hide
    altazi , April 7, 2009 3:23 AM
    It is quite possible for a poorly designed and build power supply to explode. More specifically, if incorrectly sized aluminum electrolytic capacitors are used, and they are of poor quality, they could explode with quite a bit of force. These are the big, round cans inside the PSU. High-quality capacitors have stress lines in them which will "give" in the case of internal over-pressure, venting a foul-smelling cloud of chemicals. If a poorly-built capacitor isn't designed with this vent structure, a great deal of pressure could build up inside and cause the capacitor to burst violently. I have seen this happen when the capacitor is subjected to a severe over-voltage. Solid capacitors like ceramic and especially tantalum can explode and burst into flames, but these tend to be relatively small devices - more like a firecracker than a dynamite stick, as it were.

    Even so, it is unlikely that an exploding power supply would cause the PC case to fly apart - let alone kill someone.
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