In the News

Could your cell phone be a major safety hazard? This teen awoke to something burning-- under her pillow!

(Photo credit:

Most of us can't imagine life without our phones. Texting, emojis and apps have slowly taken over our life. But could being inseperable from our phones be a little more dangerous than we thought?

We’ve all heard of fire hazard warnings before—don’t leave your straightener plugged in, clean out your hair dryer’s filter periodically, always use microwave safe dishes (and definitely no tin foil!)—but a phone catching fire while charging?

It might seem a bit surprising, but that’s exactly what happened to a 13-year-old Ariel T. from North Texas. Her nightly routine was the same as always: she got ready for bed and then plugged her Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone into charge before falling asleep. 

The smell of something burning woke her up, but at first, she didn’t think anything of it. She went back to sleep only to be awakened once again. This time, the smell was more prominent.

Ariel realized her phone had slipped under her pillow while she was sleeping and the burning smell was her phone that had caught fire and was smoldering beneath her pillow. Or, rather, what use to be her phone. All that was left under the scorched pillow was a melded and melted mess of plastic, metal and glass-- Yikes! 

Her dad, Thomas, thinks that the phone overheated, which made the battery swell and start the fire. 

While the battery in the phone was a replacement and not the original battery that came with the Samsung, it’s easy to be worried. Just how careful do we have to be with harmless routines? How common is it for this to happen?

A Samsung rep explained that actually, this accident is totally preventable, as long as you read the guidelines that come with the phone. Included in these guidelines is the instruction to make sure your phone has proper ventilation. In this case, the pillow restricted airflow, which resulted in the battery overheating. 

While Samsung has agreed to replace the phone, mattress and bedding, as well as investigate this particular incident, they are not the only company who has experienced a case of phone charging gone wrong. There are a few reports filed of Apple iPhones catching fire due to faulty batteries.

So what can you take from this? Keep track of your phone, make sure to keep it properly ventilated while charging, if you and don’t just skip over safety instructions. Oh, and when you go to bed? Make use of your bedside table, it's your friend.


by Kate Radin | 2/1/2016
jump to comments