While it’s often referred to as a gimmick, a fad, and a legitimate gaming sensation, this is probably the first time that the Nintendo’s motion-controlled video game console, the Wii, has been called an arsonist.
After a Netflix session, Colorado resident Trevor Pellegrin switched off his Wii and went to a meeting. When he came back, his RV was on fire.
“I was coming back from a meeting and I got a phone call from my neighbor that my camper was on fire,” Pellegrin told a local news outlet. “I was crying, I was screaming, I was still trying to get my things out of there.”
According to authorities, something overheated, setting a cushion on fire. Even though the Wii was powered off, firefighters are “99 percent sure” that the machine is the source of the blaze. A fire department representative said, “All other possible sources of ignition have been ruled out.”
While the Wii wasn’t technically on, it was likely still drawing power. Like current generation consoles, the Wii ships with a “sleep” mode, which supplies the machine with a small supply of energy at all times. This allows the Wii to maintain a constant Internet connection, downloading updates and receiving messages even when the machine is turned off.
Apparently, Pellegrin wasn’t aware that the machine was still active. “There’s no warning label on that Wii saying unplug after use that it may cause a fire,” he said, “there’s no warning label so I didn’t know to do that, to unplug it.”
Of course, Nintendo has sold over 100 million Wii systems, and the vast majority of those haven’t caught on fire. That’s not to say that there’s absolutely no danger – clearly, Pellegrin’s console had some kind of problem – but the general fire risk is probably pretty low. Pellegrin claims that insurance investigators will examine the remains of his Wii to determine what, exactly, went wrong.
In the meantime, Pellegrin is understandably unhappy with the situation. “This is where I live, this is my possessions. It might not be much, but it’s all I had,” he said. Trevor’s father, Howard Pellegrin, is also surprised. “Over the years we’ve had so many game controls for all the kids that we’ve had and I never would have thought something like this could have been possible,” he said.
Both Trevor and KKTV, Pellegrin’s local news station, reached out to Nintendo for comment. So far, the game maker hasn’t replied.