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3 replacement Galaxy Note 7 phones caught fire in the past week

Oct 09, 20165 mins
Data and Information SecurityMobileSamsung Electronics

Replacement Galaxy Note 7 phones caught fire on October 4, 5 and 7.

Replacement Galaxy Note 7 phones may not be any safer than the Note 7 devices which caught fire and caused a recall, based on three replacement Note 7 devices catching fire in the past week.

Samsung is reportedly investigating the fire fiascos, claiming that the company takes every Galaxy Note 7 fire report “seriously.” Yet after a company official goofed and mistakenly sent a text message meant for a colleague to one of the melted phone owners, the company’s concern for customers hardly seems sincere.

Replacement Galaxy Note 7 catches fire, fills bedroom with smoke

Michael Klering of Kentucky had his replacement Galaxy Note 7 for a little more than a week. On Tuesday, October 4, he was “scared to death” when he and his wife awoke to a bedroom full of smoke.

Klering told WKYT that around 4 AM his bedroom was “just covered in smoke.” He added, “I look over and my phone is on fire.”

“The phone is supposed to be the replacement, so you would have thought it would be safe. It wasn’t plugged in. It wasn’t anything, it was just sitting there,” he said.

Klering started feeling ill later that day and went to the hospital. He was diagnosed with acute bronchitis caused by smoke inhalation.

Although he refused to give Samsung the charred and partially melted Note 7, as Samsung had asked, the company did pay for the phone to be x-rayed.

But then the company really messed up. A Samsung representative committed a rather serious mistake by accidentally sending Klering a text message that was not meant for him. It read:

Just now got this. I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter, or we just let him do what he keeps threatening to do and see if he does it

Klering is seeking legal help now. He also wants people to know the replacement phones are not safe. “They’re in kids’ pockets, people’s cars, all kinds of things. We saw with the first ones. Samsung needs to do something to get these off the market.”

Samsung refused to comment about the text message, but claimed that until it can retrieve Klering’s phone, it “cannot confirm that this incident involved the new Note 7.”

The company is investigating two additional replacement Note 7 fires that occurred within the last week; both happened after Kering’s Note 7 overheated and spewed smoke.

Replacement Note 7 caught fire in teenager’s hand

In Minnesota, 13-year-old Abby Zuis received a minor burn on her thumb when her replacement Note 7 overheated and “melted” in her hand. She told KSTP that she “felt a ‘weird, burning sensation’ in her thumb” while holding the phone.

The Samsung caught fire on Friday, October 7, turning into a warped and melted mess. The family had exchanged the recalled Note 7 for a replacement on September 21.

Her mother had warned her about using the first phone, but she wasn’t too worried. “If it explodes, it explodes. Whatever. Never did,” said the teenager. “Then I got the replacement one and then it explodes.”

Her father said, “We thought we were safe with the new phone.”

Replacement Note 7 spews smoke, caused evacuation of plane

A few days earlier, on October 5, a Southwest Airlines plane at Louisville International Airport had to be evacuated after a replacement Note 7 caught fire and filled the cabin with smoke.

The phone was turned off, as the FAA has asked Note 7 owners to do when they are on a plane, and tucked into owner Brian Green’s pocket. He said he first heard “popping,” like a ziplocked bag popping open, and sizzling sounds before “there was smoke just billowing, pouring out of my pocket.”

He dropped the phone onto the floor as “thick gray-green angry smoke” spewed out the device. The flight was evacuated with no one being injured. Later, when passengers returned for personal belongings, they reported the “phone had burned through the carpet and scorched the subfloor of the plane.”

The replacement Note 7 had a green battery indicator and its box had a black square icon on the back, things Samsung say are indicators of a phone allegedly being safe to use. Both The Verge and CBS ran the replacement Note 7’s serial number against Samsung’s recall eligibility checker and found the phone was not in the list of affected devices.

Green said the battery was charged to about 80 percent capacity when he turned it off for the flight and that he had only charged it wirelessly since he obtained the replacement phone. After the smoke-spitting Note 7 incident on the plane, he switched to an iPhone 7.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall for Note 7 devices after reports in the US included 92 batteries overheating, 26 people being burned and 55 cases of property damage.

In September, Samsung assured customers that replacement Note 7s were safe. CBS reported that CPSC chairman Elliot Kaye said the feds are investigating the smoking replacement device.

ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.