Cell Phone Fires and Cell Phone Charger Fires-Truth! & Unproven!

Summary of eRumor:

The eRumor tells the story of a young man who answered a cell phone while it was still connected to the charger.  He was reportedly thrown to the ground and rendered unconscious with a weak heart beat and burned fingers.  He was rushed to a hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

The Truth:

This eRumor says the news story was heard on WTAE television in Pittsburgh, but it was not and we have not found any substantiation of this story. Other than the reference to WTAE, there are no facts that could be investigated such as names, location, or hospital.

While we have not found any documented evidence of cell phones exploding while in use and  connected to chargers, there are numerous stories about either cell phone chargers or batteries causing fires.

In April, 2005, WNBC TV in New York told of a fire in a home in the city of Wingdale that fire officials say was the result of a cell phone charger that was plugged in but not in use at the time.  The fire destroyed the home.

In October, 2007, WALB-TV reported a fire in the Shackleford Shopping Center in Albany, Georgia that is said to have started because of a cell phone charger.

In 2004, Kyocera issued a recall of about one million cell phone batteries.  The company said that some of the batteries turned out to be counterfeit and there are 14 reports of failures, some involving smoke, property damage, and injuries.

In February, 2007, fire officials in Pembroke Pines, Florida, said they put out a blaze in a woman’s bedroom that had been started by the battery of a cell phone exploding while it was in its charger.

In January, 2007, Vallejo Valley firefighters in California told of an incident in which a man’s cell phone caught fire while he was using it, which caught his clothing on fire.  They did not say whether it was plugged into a charger at the time.

In July of 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported a story about a man named Pablo Ortega whose cell phone blew up and caused $100,000 damage to his home in Selma, California..  The story said that it was his lithium-ion battery that failed then ignited.  The phone had been charging while the family was away from home.

In 2006, the Consumer Product Safety commission said it did not know of any fatalities because of cell phone fires or explosions.


A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

This seems important enough to forward to others

It’s wise to be safe and safe being wise.
This was also on Pittsburgh ‘s WTAE channel 4 News.
Never, ever answer a cell phone while it is being CHARGED!!

A few days ago, a person was recharging his cell phone at home. Just
at that time a call came and he answered it with the instrument still
connected to the outlet. After a few seconds electricity flowed into
the cell phone unrestrained and the young man was thrown to the ground
with a heavy thud. His parents rushed to the room only to find him
unconscious, with a weak heartbeat and burnt fingers.

He was rushed to the nearby hospital, but was pronounced dead on
arrival. Cell phones are a very useful modern invention. However, we
must be aware that it can also be an instrument of death

NEVER use the cell phone while it is hooked to the electrical outlet!