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Boeing Fire Spotlights Hazard of Plug-in Cars, Laptops

Firefighters at Boston’s Logan International Airport opened the hatch of a burning Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner this week to encounter a hazard from something almost ubiquitous in modern life: lithium-based batteries.

The power sources for devices ranging from Apple Inc.’s iPad to tools to plug-in cars hold so much energy and are so flammable that when they ignite, they can be difficult to extinguish as they spew flames and even molten metal, according to U.S. government tests.