Teen wakes to find Samsung phone smoldering inches from her head - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Teen wakes to find Samsung Galaxy phone smoldering inches from her head

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DALLAS - How many times have you gone to bed with your cell phone just inches away from where you're sleeping?

A 13-year-old girl in Texas went to sleep with her phone tucked under her pillow and when she woke up, the phone's battery had started a fire.

"The whole phone melted.. the plastic, the glass.. you can't even tell it was a phone," said the teen's father, Thomas Tolfree.

Ariel Tolfree says her Samsung Galaxy S4 phone slipped under her pillow as she fell asleep.  The smell of something burning woke her in the night.

"I didn't think much of it, so I went back to sleep and then I woke up again and it was more prominent," she said.

Her father suspects the phone overheated, causing the battery to swell.

"This is the battery.  You can see how thick that battery is now because it swelled," he said.  "We have reasonable expectation that the products we buy are going to be safe."


A spokesperson for Samsung says their products are safe and points out the battery inside the phone was a replacement unit and not an original Samsung part.

Nevertheless, they do agree there is a need for consumer education when it comes to rechargeable batteries.  It's exactly why they post a warning in their user guide which specifically states covering one of their devices, especially with bedding, could restrict airflow and cause a fire.

"I hope everyone watching this warns their children not to sleep with their phone," said Thomas.

A warning Ariel's father and the teenage phone fan never read.

"If anything, they should put a label like a cigarette warning if that's the case," he said.

"I don't think they should sleep with their phones like I do.. put it on the night stand next to the bed," said Ariel.

Abiding by it now is an easy call to make.

Samsung says they take any instance of a battery fire very seriously.  They have requested the burned phone be sent to them so they can fully investigate.

Meanwhile, the phone, the bedding, the mattress and pillow will be replaced by Samsung.
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