iPhones can now be a fire hazard after an iPhone ignited while it was in an eighth grade girl’s back pocket. Jeffrey Rodman, the school principal, said the girl was sitting in class in Kennebunk, Maine when she heard a pop and then said that her pants felt like they were burning. The class was then evacuated and the boys were told to wait outside. Rodman also said that smoke immediately started pouring out of her pants and the girl knew the smoke was coming from her phone. He also said the eighth-grader ran to the edge of the classroom and took her pants off. The phone came out of her pocket and then she rolled around on the floor since she thought there might be fire on her body.
The pants had many burn holes and a window had to be opened being there was a lot of smoke. The girl had second-degree burns and will go back to school on Monday. Kennebunk fire officials are still investigating the incident but it is possible that the phone’s battery shorted out when she sat down. One official said that people should be cautious when they put their phone in their back pocket to make sure they do not crush them or cause an electrical shock.
Andrew Rosenstein, the owner of TechPort in Maine that repairs iPhones, said that he has seen owners bring in their phones with swollen batteries and phones that were at risk of malfunctioning after prolonged use. He said he has never seen any problems from phones that were barely used. He also explains that the phone has a built-in lithium-ion type rechargeable battery. The battery creates a chemical reaction when it is charging and discharging. This reaction, he says, creates heat. Rosenstein said that it is very rare for an issue to occur but that any battery is a chemical composition that can become flammable in extreme circumstances. He said that his company uses a fireproof box to store used iPhone batteries.
The iPhone that ignited while it was in a girl’s back pocket was not the first phone to catch fire. On two 787 Boeing Dreamliners, lithium-ion batteries in a few phones caused so much fire that the planes had to land.
The girl’s mother, Judy Milligan, said that her daughter is an honors student and enjoys school. The girl is a competitive swimmer for the Biddeford Manta Rays. Rodman said that the school definitely avoided something that could have been a lot worse. He said the school is also very grateful the girl is alright and that the speedy response from both the students and staff shrank what possibly could have caused even more damage.
The iPhone that ignited while it was in a girl’s back pocket caused second degree burns; the phone was in her pocket when it made a popping noise and then began smoking. The girl ran to the edge of the room and immediately took her pants off. The phone dropped on the floor and she then began rolling on the ground since she thought there was fire on her body. After the girl was treated at a local hospital she asked to go back to class but was told by medical professionals to go home. The girl is expected to return to class on Monday.
By Jordan Bonte