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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > New Jersey man hospitalized by exploded iPhone 5c battery

New Jersey man hospitalized by exploded iPhone 5c battery
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NewsPoster
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Feb 28, 2015, 01:36 PM
 
An iPhone has reportedly exploded in a Long Island, New York man's pocket, sending him to the burn ward for 10 days. Erik Johnson was given a swath of third-degree burns on his left thigh after he bent over to get keys, when he heard a pop and, according to Johnson's claims, the battery burst and caught on fire, burning the man severely. An iPhone 5c belonging to a MacNN editor isn't seeing any bulging or any signs of problem, nor have we heard any previous claims for this model, but Johnson has photographic proof of the explosion.

"I had the phone in my pocket, simple little gesture, bent over to get keys and all I heard was pop. Sssssh smoke coming out," Johnson said. "And just like an instant burn, my leg just starts going on fire, try to get it out, can't get it out. I was literally jumping up and down trying to get the phone out of my pocket, but I think the phone melted my pockets shut, so I couldn't get into it and I had to rip my pants off and throw the pants to the side. A couple of people actually said they could smell my body burning."

Attorney Mike Della has been brought on to handle Johnson's claim against Apple. Despite there not being any reports or evidence of widespread problems with the model, Della says that "obviously, Apple has to take a closer look at what they're putting out in the stream of commerce before they go out and sell these items that could potentially be this dangerous." Somehow, Johnson appears to have put himself in a position that cause the iPhone to snap, with enough force to damage the battery container itself.

ABC first reported on the failure. Speaking to the news agency, Johnson claims to have never mistreated the phone, or used third-party chargers -- the latter of which are often blamed for battery failures. Battery ruptures aren't unique to Apple -- any battery by any manufacturer has a chance of failure, and catastrophic energy and chemical release if the battery casing itself is damaged. Apple is said to be looking into the case.


( Last edited by NewsPoster; Feb 28, 2015 at 04:20 PM. )
     
msuper69
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Feb 28, 2015, 02:19 PM
 
Della states that "obviously Apple has to take a closer look at what they're putting out in the stream of commerce before they go out and sell these items that could potentially be this dangerous."

Yes. Apple never tests any of their products for safety.
Talk about a stretch.
     
benjitek
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Feb 28, 2015, 02:35 PM
 
Gotta watch out for those 3rd party, non-licensed charging cables :-(
     
iphonerulez
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Feb 28, 2015, 03:26 PM
 
I'm only guessing but out of all those hundreds of millions of Android smartphones sold in the poorest countries around the world, there would have to be quite a number of devices a year that have this sort of failure but yet the news articles always come out when it happens to an Apple product. I wonder if anyone can prove that a higher incidence of battery explosions than Android smartphones. I'm sure every manufacturer can get a bunch of bad batteries that end up in consumer devices. Nothing is 100% perfect.
     
DiabloConQueso
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Feb 28, 2015, 03:58 PM
 
Could the phone, being held in the pocket, have been under considerable pressure, causing it to flex or bend, because of the bending over?
     
Charles Martin
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Feb 28, 2015, 04:23 PM
 
Diablo: while not in any way whatsoever trying to shift blame to the user until all the facts are in, it does sound as though the phone's frame was somehow snapped in two, breaking the battery casing. We'll have to wait and see what the forensics determine, but in the meantime one should not (obviously) put any smartphone under great bending stress for what one would hope would be obvious reasons.
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panjandrum
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Feb 28, 2015, 11:01 PM
 
Modern batteries pack a lot of juice into a small package and NO product is completely perfect; 100% perfection simply is not within the realm of human capability. Battery explosions are nothing new, they have been happening to automotive batteries since, well, they have existed, even with batteries which have never been charged improperly. Sure, it's rare, but sometimes something simply "goes wrong". This battery could have had a manufacturing defect which caused eventual failure, even without user error of any kind.
     
Inkling
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Mar 1, 2015, 12:14 PM
 
Putting a cell phone in a front pocket is a bit like putting a cup of scalding hot coffee in your lap as you drive. It's a very, very bad idea. I occasionally carry my iPhone in my front pocket when I'm at a formal occasion and don't want to look geeky. Otherwise, it's clipped to my belt or, when I go for a walk, hung in a pouch around my neck. Both are much, much safer than in a front pocket.
Author of Untangling Tolkien and Chesterton on War and Peace
     
OldMacGeek
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Mar 1, 2015, 09:35 PM
 
Inkling, I always put my phone in my front pocket. Of course, it's been a long time since I wore a pair of skinny jeans . . .
     
jdonahoe
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Mar 1, 2015, 11:16 PM
 
The case doesn't look bent in any way. I was expecting a phone practically folded in half. I say polygraph him.
     
bluedog
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Mar 2, 2015, 10:11 AM
 
The headline states "New Jersey"; the opening of the article says "Long Island, NY". Not that I'm being picky, but at least be consistent.
     
moonmonkey
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Mar 5, 2015, 11:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post
Putting a cell phone in a front pocket is a bit like putting a cup of scalding hot coffee in your lap as you drive. It's a very, very bad idea. I occasionally carry my iPhone in my front pocket when I'm at a formal occasion and don't want to look geeky. Otherwise, it's clipped to my belt or, when I go for a walk, hung in a pouch around my neck. Both are much, much safer than in a front pocket.
Clipped to your belt - cool.
     
   
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