Local News

Teen burned when cellphone catches fire in his pocket

Posted May 12, 2015 5:52 p.m. EDT
Updated May 13, 2015 5:45 a.m. EDT

— 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.