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Busting the Myth: Yes, Cell Phones Can Explode


Published onJanuary 8, 2012

If you’ve always been scared of the radiation that your phone exudes, you need to be more aware of the possibility that your phone may explode. Over the past few years, we’ve been hearing stories of several smartphones bursting as a result of being charged too long. It is unfortunate to know but yes, they can happen. Once you start noticing that your battery pack feels a bit enflamed than usual, you need to replace it ASAP.

Here are some of the deadliest mobile phone explosions recorded:

Dec. 12, 2011: Galaxy S2 Skyrocket

An anonymous Galaxy S2 Skyrocket owner posted on XDA-Developer forum site about the incident where he heard a sound coming from his phone then felt his leg burning up. When he took out his phone, it was already transmitting smoke.

Dec. 1, 2011: iPhone 4

A week after a similar iPhone 4 fiasco in Sydney, another unit was reported to have exploded in Brazil. After being overcharged, Ayla Paulo Mota’s phone started sparking a few inches from his face. Apple has not released a statement about this incident.

Nov. 25, 2011: iPhone 4

While onboard a plane, a passenger’s iPhone 4 detonated. This was after the battery overheated. It even emitted a large amount of ‘dense smoke’ on the plane. After discovering his handset was getting extremely hot and glowing red, the iPhone 4 owner alerted one of the flight attendants immediately. The attendant immediately applied standard safety procedures to put out the glow.

Dec. 3, 2010: Motorola Droid 2

While making a routine call on his Motorola Droid 2, Aaron Embry’s phone suddenly blew up in his ear. ‘I heard a pop, I didn’t feel any pain initially, I pulled the phone down, I felt something dripping.’ The incident led to Embry’s hospitalization. He had four stitches and had his head bandaged. Because the Droid 2 has a high radiation exposure level (1.47 SAR rating), sources believe Embry might encounter long-term damage on his hearing.

Aug. 17, 2010: Nokia 1209

A 23 year old Indian was found dead when his Nokia 1209 exploded near his head. The explosion caused serious injuries on his right ear, neck and shoulder—which led to his death.

June 8, 2010: Nokia

A 16 year old teenager in Nepal lost consciousness after her Nokia cell phone erupted. The event happened while the girl was charging the phone and using it simultaneously. She died on her way to the hospital.

May 14, 2010: Samsung Rogue

After Corey’s Verizon Samsung Rogue unit exploded in his face, he had to rinse out ‘black crumbs and remnants’ from his eye for 20 minutes before he felt a burning sensation. While Verizon replaced Corey with a new phone, Samsung never returned phone calls made on the issue.

Aug. 28, 2009: iPhone 3GS

An iPhone 3GS suddenly exploded while a teenager was about to place a phone call. Before the explosion, the phone went completely blank. Lucky for the teen, the explosion took place inside the device and did not cause any serious harm except for a few minor headaches the following days. Prior to this, there had been 11 related iPhone incidents. Strangely though, all of them happened in France. Apple did promise to provide a free replacement for the defective unit.

Aug. 14, 2009: iPhone

An 18-year old was struck in the eye with a glass piece from an iPhone display. Prior to the screen bursting, the phone made a hissing sound. This then sent out shards of glass everywhere. The phone belonged to the teenager’s girlfriend.

Jan. 20, 2009: Unnamed

A  Chinese shop worker was found dead after his unnamed cell phone exploded burst on his chest. Reports said that the worker had just finished charging his phone before putting it inside his chest pocket. Another employee suddenly heard a loud explosion and found the Asian lifeless.

June 28, 2008: Unnamed

While his phone was connected to the wall outlet, a young man from Ghana answered a call. This led the phone to short circuit and electrocuted the boy to death. He was rushed to the hospital but was announced dead upon arrival. Several tech experts say that the phone might have been a knock-off with inferior wiring which triggered short circuit.

June 11, 2008: LG enV

While giving his dog a walk, Dan Lefman suddenly felt that there was a burning in his pants. When he took out his LG enV smartphone, he found out that it had combusted. This left him with a burnt pair of khakis. After learning about the incident, Verizon said this was the first time they ever heard of an enV model catching fire. They finally sent Lefman a new model when the negative press sank in.

June 19, 2007: Motorola

A Chinese welder had his phone near his chest when it exploded, causing him to have broken ribs. His broken bone fragments pierced his heart and caused his death. Many believe that the cause of the explosion was due to the lithium-ion battery blowing up as a result of the high temperature of his workplace. Motorola questioned whether or not he used a fake phone or battery. This marked the first recorded fatality resulting from a cell phone explosion.

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