Green Township, Ohio — Plugging in your phone is something everyone does before going to bed at night. No one expects to wake up dissolved in a pile of soot. That’s what happened to Brian Raisgang and his family in their Green Township home.
Around 1 a.m. Monday, iPhone 4s used by the Leisgang children exploded in flames while charging on the kitchen counter. A motion detection camera in the living room caught a small explosion.
iPhone 4 catches fire while family sleeps
He, his wife, and five young children didn’t realize that something was wrong until they got ready for school and work that morning.
“There were small pieces of the phone and black soot all over the counter,” Leisgang said.
Leisgang told WCPO that he went to bed about 30 minutes before it happened, but it could have been worse.
“We were very lucky to avoid a house fire,” Reissgang said. “Fortunately, I had just cleaned the counter.”
According to Leisgang, part of the kitchen is usually filled with textbooks, homework, and various other papers that can easily ignite.
He believes the fire was likely extinguished within minutes because smoke detectors failed to operate.
Leisgang said he bought a new phone a long time ago when it first came out and now has his children using it. He said he has never replaced the battery and always uses an Apple charger.
Leisgang said he shared the video on social media in hopes of helping prevent fires in others’ homes.
WCPO reached out to Apple for comment, but they declined to discuss the Liesgang situation.
What happened to the Leisgang family wasn’t just limited to smartphones.
According to ABC News, the European Union launched an investigation in 2009, reporting that “multiple cases of iPhones and iPod Touches exploding or igniting in flight were reported in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France and Sweden.”
In 2012, tech website CNET reported that a woman in Colorado was awakened by a “sizzling iPhone 4” next to her hotel bed. Most recently, her Samsung Galaxy A21 caught fire on an Alaska Airlines flight in 2021.
Smartphones rarely explode randomly. According to experts, most often the battery is involved.
Many smartphones, including the iPhone 4, are made with lithium-ion batteries. According to the technology publication website PC Mag, if a battery’s internal components fail, it can fail, overheat, and cause a dangerous reaction that can lead to a fire.
According to PC Mag, there are several factors that increase the risk of your phone catching fire or your battery exploding.
- physical damage
- leave the phone in the sun for a long time
- Malware that overloads the CPU
- Phone manufacturing defect
- Batteries degrade over time, so the older your device, the more likely your phone will overheat.
How can I prevent my phone from exploding?
Again, the chances of this happening are extremely rare. But if you’re still worried, here are some suggestions from PC Mag on how to limit your risk.
- Get a phone case that reduces fall damage
- avoid extreme temperatures
- Do not cover your smartphone while charging
- Practice good battery hygiene (keep your phone between 30% and 80% charged most of the time).
- Use the right charger
- take care of the cable
- Beware of Malware
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