Laser pointer kills millions!

That’s the story we’ll hear next week.

This week we’re hearing about a laser pointer that way "laid" or "placed" (depending on who is transcribing the story that everyone is repeating) on a dermatology exam table and somehow sparked a fire that caused $200,000 in damages.


Do a Google news search using "fire laser pointer los angeles" and sort by date.

Now scroll or click to the last item on the list and work your way back through the history of the story.

It starts out with the title "Laser Device Sparks High-Rise Fire" in which the device is described as

A doctor’s hand held laser device

Moves on to show up very quickly as "Laser pointer causes Miracle Mile office fire" where it’s then described as

A hand-held laser pointer

The story is then picked up by stations and agencies all over the country and repeated ad-nauseum.

At one point the lasy idiots at CBS5 in San Francisco title their story somewhat correctly with "Medical Laser Pointer Sparks L.A. High Rise Fire". At least they got the medical right. Unfortunately they started out the story with:

A hand-held laser pointer ignited a fire…

Eventually the AP picks up the story and appears to get it right. "High rise fire sparked by handheld laser" and says:

A high rise office fire that drew 123 Los Angeles firefighters was started by a simple handheld dermatology laser, officials say.

Unfortunately there are something like 132 web sites repeating the bogus story that a "laser pointer" started the fire!


It was not a hand-held laser pointer like you buy at the store that did this!  It was a very powerful medical laser that was probably mis-handled by the operator!

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Michael Harrison

Husband, Programmer, Irish dancer, tinkerer, astronomer, layabout (as much as possible)

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