Lawton-Bronson claims Hewlett-Packard Company liable for 2018 school fire | Crime & Courts

SIOUX CITY — The Lawton-Bronson Community School District is seeking a judgment against a computer maker it says is responsible for a fire that damaged several rooms in a school building.

The school district claims a faulty computer charging station, laptop computer or other computer components, all made by Hewlett-Packard Company, led to the Sept. 25, 2018, fire at the district’s junior-senior high school in Lawton.

The fire caused more than $75,000 in damage to the building, according to the lawsuit, initially filed in Woodbury County District Court and removed to U.S. District Court in Sioux City on Wednesday by Hewlett-Packard.

The fire started just before 5 p.m. after students had left for the day. The fire was traced to a business classroom, where a rack of laptop computers caught fire.

In its lawsuit, the school district said the computer charging cart had a capacity to charge 24 computers, and was charging 17 at the time of the fire. The fire was caused by a malfunction in the charging cart, one of the laptops or another computer component, the district said, and would not have occurred if Hewlett-Packard’s products were not defective.

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No one was injured in the fire, and classes were canceled for four days while the district cleaned up after the fire.

The district said Hewlett-Packard is liable for all damages to the school building and should pay the repair costs.

Hewlett-Packard has yet to file a response to the lawsuit.