Culture March 17, 2017
So what would possess a man to strip off his pants right in the middle of a Costco aisle? His cell phone had caught fire.
That’ll do it. A fellow shopper followed the smell of smoke while at the warehouse store only to find the dumbfounded man with his pants in his hands and a charred cell phone on the ground.
Others had rushed over to help, with an employee using a fire extinguisher to tame the phone. Luckily, the man was not hurt – though perhaps his pride was singed a bit… oh, and he lost his phone.
Costco gave the man back his modesty with a new pair of pants, but judging by the pictures – and the fact that it had literally caught on fire – it seems there was no saving his phone.
For any woman who has ever shoved her phone in her bra when her purse was too small or she didn’t have pockets – this will come as a pretty horrifying shock. But, it’s unfortunately not the first time something like this has happened.
Last April Ubergizmo reported that a man was suing LG after his phone burst into flames while in his pants pocket. This man had it a lot worse than the Costco shopper, receiving 2nd and 3rd degree burns from the incident. It was so bad that reportedly skin grafts were required.
And what kind of phone did the Costco man have? An LG. Boy, it is not a good year for those guys. Of course, Samsung is feeling the burn, too. You probably heard that their Galaxy Note 7 devices have been banned from airplanes.
A global recall was announced for the Android phone after cases of it catching on fire. Back in June the crew of a Qantas flight had to extinguish a fire in an airline seat after the Galaxy Note 7 burst into flame. It had been crushed after a passenger tried to lift up the seat to retrieve it after it had fallen.
You may be wondering – How does this keep happening? Well, apparently it has to do with the battery. Smart phones have batteries that work by using lithium ion. It’s good for better charging and for producing a lot of power despite its light, compact size.
The problem is that chemical reactions can occur with lithium ion, The Conversation explains. Overcharging, impurities in the battery or sudden impact can cause it to overheat. As someone who drops her phone on the regular, I can attest to the fact that if the screen isn’t cracked – I’m going to go ahead and count that as a win.
However, sometimes sudden impact can cause that heat – that you may not necessarily notice – which unchecked, continues, causing further reactions until a “thermal runaway” occurs. Once the temperature hits 150 degrees Celsius, it’s game over and that phone is probably about to catch fire.
When this happens, the company usually notices a recall – like Samsung did with the Galaxy Note 7 – and hopefully looks into a way to make it more difficult for that to happen again. Uh, until then – maybe just don’t keep your cell phones stored near anything you wouldn’t want medium to well done.
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