That media display board that was on fire on the weekend was indeed a Mitsubishi LED display, but I’ve not yet found anything online explaining what happened.
It’s easy to to look at this incident and see a problem owing to LED tech, but the screen may well have been collateral damage, with the origins in something like the lighting ballasts or wiring.
A creative friend who has generated content for that set of screens in Times Square suggested the fire may have been in the lighting columns that flank both sides of the screen. The video certainly suggests the fire is on the left edge of the screen, which kept playing until someone powered it down.
His suspicions are backed up, I’m told, by investigators. My Digital Signage Federation board colleague Paul Fleuranges said via Linkedin that he talked to the fire department (he’s a New Yorker and until recently working for the city), and was told: “The Fire Marshals determined this was an accidental, electrical fire that began in the ballast of the sign.”
TIMES SQUARE: Video shows a billboard on fire in Times Square. The FDNY has responded to the scene at 43rd Street and Broadway. pic.twitter.com/irfAhuTmia
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) May 18, 2019
It looks like the light strips on either side of the screen lit on fire and took a few panels down with it. Sad, that was one of the first outdoor spectaculars I ever designed ads for.
— Aaron Campus (@blinkmm) May 19, 2019
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.