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Teen burned when cellphone catches fire in his pocket

Posted May 12, 2015
Updated May 13, 2015

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— Clayton High School student Blake Joyner had just gotten out of his truck when he noticed smoke and flames coming from the pocket of the shorts he was wearing.

He realized his iPhone 5c was on fire.

“I saw black smoke, blue and orange flames,” said Joyner, 17. “I mean, it wasn’t huge, but still there was fire coming out of my pocket. It’s a little freaky.”

The fire burned through his shorts.

“I just dropped my pants and stepped on my shorts a bunch of times,” he said.

Joyner ended up in urgent care to treat first- and second-degree burns.

The phone was only five months old, so Joyner’s mom contacted Apple by phone, emailed the CEO and got online.

“If it were an isolated incident, I would say, you know, maybe it was a defect in the phone,” Wendy Gordon said. “But just from the Internet research, this is not the first time something like this has happened.”

In Maine, a 13-year-old girl’s legs were burned when her iPhone 5c caught fire, and the legs of a man in New York were burned when his iPhone exploded.

Online searches show other brands of phones have also caught fire. Several manufacturers warn against using third-party batteries and chargers. 5 On Your Side learned Joyner used a third-party charger in his truck.

“There needs to be a warning,” Gordon said.

Apple has not posted warnings, but company representatives immediately replaced Joyner’s phone and after inspecting the phone, called Gordon to say they determined the fire was not caused by a manufacturing defect.

Apple declined to be interviewed by 5 On Your Side.

Joyner said he’s now more cautious about how he carries his phone.

“I don’t put it in my pocket. At all,” he said.

8 Comments

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  • Jeff Abbott May 13, 2015
    user avatar

    Yeah, but will it blend?

  • Lisa Marie Fields May 13, 2015
    user avatar

    Even if you use the chargers that come with the Iphone and Ipad, they still get VERY warm. I unplug mine when it's not in use.

  • Larry Price May 13, 2015
    user avatar

    of course, if he's in starbucks he can order a cup of coffee that will explode and spill on the exploding phone and put it out. should be quite a lawsuit...

  • Belinda Warrick May 13, 2015
    user avatar

    This is common for all iPhones because they cut corners to compete with others, specifically Samsung Galaxy. In our household we have had every version of the Samsung Galaxy and currently have 3 Galaxy S5s and had no problems with any of them. My son recently got an iPhone because a lot of his friends had one and he wanted to be different than us and he regrets it but will have to live with it. I know he won't make that mistake again.

  • Chuck Justice May 13, 2015
    user avatar

    I call bull.

  • Ryan Walsh May 12, 2015
    user avatar

    Yeah Sherrill and Michael must be professional iPhone Google experts! Great comments. I'll just never put my phone in my pocket or charge it.

  • Sherrill Craig May 12, 2015
    user avatar

    First off, do not put it in your pocket. It is bad for the phone and bends it ( especially the 5C). Also, use the charger it came with, or get another iphone brand charger from the Apple Store/BestBuy. DO not use third party equipment for cell phones and/or computers. You cannot control the quality and it may harm the equipment.

  • Michael Winecoff May 12, 2015
    user avatar

    How about carrying it in your pocket and NOT using a 3rd party charger... get what you pay for...