CINCINNATI – An Ohio family is relieved that nothing in their home was seriously damaged, or worse, burned down, when their security cameras caught one of their iPhones bursting into flames as they all slept soundly.
Jennifer Leisgang and her family hope that her story will prevent other families from suffering a worse fate than hers.
on Jan. 1 On Feb. 9, around 1 a.m., Leisgang said she and her family were sleeping when an iPhone 4 that had been left charging on the kitchen counter suddenly caught fire.
Leisgang told FOX TV Stations that the phone was being charged using an original Apple charger.
Home security camera footage shows a small fire igniting and then burning violently on the countertop for a few minutes before slowly beginning to die down.
The next morning, Leisgang and her husband, Brian, were met with a very unusual scene: soot all over the counter and a blackened, broken phone.
“I had a silicone case that broke and the phone fell open. And there was black soot all over the counter, on the chairs and on the floor,” Leisgang said.
Jennifer Leisgang’s destroyed iPhone 4 with original Apple charging cable and damaged casing. (Jennifer and Brian Leisgang)
Fortunately, Leisgang’s husband had cleared the island that is usually covered with his children’s school work and other sundries before going to bed the night before.
“I realized how lucky we were to have nothing on the hob and it just turned itself off,” added Leisgang.
Leisgang’s husband shared the video and photos of the aftermath on Facebook as a warning to other Apple users to be vigilant and make sure their electronic devices are charging away from anything that could catch fire.
Melted components inside Leisgang’s iPhone 4. (Jennifer and Brian Leisgang)
“We were very lucky to avoid a house fire”, Brian wrote on Facebook.
Leisgang said that she, like other parents she knows, use older products like the iPhone 4 to simply give their younger children something to watch videos with.
But after seeing what happened to his “old” device, he wanted to know, how long was it too old?
Leisgang said he filed a complaint with Apple hoping to get some sort of advice when it comes to older Apple products, but the company was unable to provide a direct answer.
“Their verbal response, and I’m paraphrasing because I didn’t write it all down, was that my device was old and they didn’t expect their customers to use such an old phone,” Leisgang said. “They really didn’t have an answer.”
Leisgang said the company asked him to forward the phone for further investigation.
The aftermath of the fiery explosion shows Leisgang’s iPhone 4 slightly melted and split. (Jennifer and Brian Leisgang)
“They were going to send me a check for a replacement device, but I declined their offer. I didn’t want any of this, I was just reporting it after hearing a lot of other stories,” Leisgang explained.
Leisgang said the last he heard about his claim was that it was taken over by Apple’s corporate executive relations and that he has not heard from the claim since.
“How many years is too old to continue to use?” Leisgang applied. “An Apple phone is like a minicomputer if you have it connected to Wi-Fi. It’s a camera. You can watch videos on it. You can take videos. You can watch YouTube. There are a lot of households still using 4s and 6s out there and the original Apple iPads “.
Apple told FOX TV Stations that they were aware of the incident involving Leisgang’s device and were “investigating the matter further.”
Earlier Apple product controversy
This isn’t the first time an Apple product has suddenly burned up.
In 2009, Apple launched an investigation after multiple reports of people’s iPhones exploding across Europe.
In 2012, a A Colorado woman’s iPhone 4 started sizzling and smokes while on the nightstand next to her, according to a Mashable report.
Similarly, in 2016, a man in Atlanta, Georgia, was charging your iPhone 6 when it suddenly burst into flames and in 2017, the head of an Australian man car was set on fire by an iPhone 7 that was left inside the car while the man was surfing.
Also noteworthy is the The 2016 Samsung Galaxy Note 7 debacle when the company had to stop sales because the devices would explode while charging.
Apple’s batteries were also the subject of a consumer uproar in 2017 after the company admitted it had slowed down the batteries of older iPhones for technical reasons.
“We apologize”, the company he said on his website . “We would never, and would never, do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product or degrade the user experience in order to push customer updates.”
The slowdown began with iOS 10.2.1 in 2016, Apple said, to improve power management “to prevent unexpected shutdowns on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE.”
Apple’s admission led to the company offering discounted battery replacements at $29, but many people claimed they had already spent hundreds of dollars to buy new phones because Apple didn’t disclose the cause of the problem. If they had known they could buy new batteries, they might not have bought new phones, some consumers said.
A class action lawsuit filed in California regarding slower batteries ordered the company to pays $500 million, including about $93 million for attorneys representing consumers.
Apple did not admit wrongdoing in the lawsuit.
The iPhone users who were named in the case would receive up to $3,500 each. The remainder of the settlement money would be distributed to owners of iPhone 6, 6S, 7 and SE models who meet the eligibility requirements related to the operating system they had at the time.
What makes some phones ‘explode’?
The reason behind the phones malfunctioning is largely due to the battery. Many, if not all, smartphones have lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium batteries are popular because they pack a lot more power into a small package.
But their chemistry makes them more prone to catch fire under certain conditions because, unlike other rechargeable batteries, they contain a flammable electrolyte and are kept pressurized.
If batteries have a manufacturing defect, are damaged, are too close together, are overcharged, or are exposed to excessive temperatures, they can overheat and cause a condition known as “thermal runaway.”
That’s a situation where an increase in temperature causes continuous new increases, a kind of runaway positive feedback. If a single battery overheats, it can cause other nearby batteries to overheat and also experience thermal runaway. Flammable electrolyte can also ignite.
How to prevent your phone from exploding
Again, although very rare, there are several ways to avoid any possible spontaneous combustion when it comes to your iPhone or any smartphone.
Get a phone case
Dropping your phone and potentially damaging its battery is one way that can lead to an incendiary outcome, according to PC Mag.
Again, not all phones will explode immediately after being dropped without a case, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Avoid extreme temperatures
Overheating of a smartphone battery has been linked to cases of malfunctioning devices.
But even extremely cold temperatures can negatively affect a phone’s battery life, PC Mag said.
It’s best to keep your phone in moderate temperatures if you can avoid it.
Do not cover your phone while charging
Basically, don’t leave your charging smartphone under your pillow while you sleep. This can lead to overheating which, as mentioned above, can have disastrous effects.
Practice good ‘battery hygiene’
While it’s good to have your phone charged to 100% whenever you decide to go out or get ready to scroll through social media before bed, it’s actually best to keep it between 30% and 80% charged.
apple website actually advises consumers to only keep a 50% charge on a device’s battery.
Associated Press and FOX News contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.