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Shot down in flames: Mobile phones batteries and fires

The picture of the culprit: Samsung s4 phone that caught fire

The picture of the culprit: Samsung s4 phone that caught fire. Courtesy of Steve Noviello facebook page.

FoxDFW reports a story of a Samsung Galaxy s4 phone placed under a pillow getting so hot it melted the plastic and scorched the bed clothes.

“The whole phone melted” said her dad, Thomas. “The plastic, the glass. You can’t even really tell that it was a phone.” Tolfree says her phone slipped under her pillow as she fell asleep, and the smell of something burning woke her up in the night.

“I didn’t think much of it, so I went back to sleep, and then I woke up again and it was more prominent,” said Tolfree. Her dad suspects the phone overheated, causing the battery to swell and start a fire.

Samsung added something perhaps important

A spokesperson for Samsung says their products are safe, and pointed out that the battery inside the phone was a replacement unit and not an original Samsung part.

Nevertheless, the company does agree there is a need for consumer education when it comes to rechargeable batteries. That’s exactly why they post a warning in their user guide, which specifically states covering one of their devices with bedding or other material could restrict airflow and cause a fire.

To their credit, Samsung agreed to replace the bedding even if they will blame it on the non-Samsung battery.

Some of the commentators on the site as simply asinine especially the ones moaning about why a 13 years old has a nice smart phone. Why does that even matter? If she had been 22 year old, would that make it ok? There are some interesting comments in there about Galaxy getting hot which makes putting it in a case impractical. A simple internet search shows many people saying the same thing about the Galaxy. Continue reading..