1. #1
    Forum Member

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    Nov 2006

    Default cell phone as a fire cause

    has anyone had a fire caused by a cell phone? i believe i had my first one last night....LG Go Phone...looking for input....thanks in advance

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2009


    First, a disclaimer - I'm not a firefighter or investigator, I just browse this site occasionally out of general interest.

    I am, however, an Electrical Engineer. So provided that I'm not overstepping I might suggest the following - you probably already thought of these, but since nobody had replied yet I thought I would offer my 2 cents.

    Batteries in portable electronics contain a decent amount of energy. Modern batteries contain current limiting devices to protect them in the event of a short circuit or malfunction. However, counterfeit and generic replacement batteries (and chargers) do not necessarily have these features. You might want to do a search on the Consumer Products Safety Commission website (www.cpsc.gov) for LG phones - I did a quick one and lo-and-behold there were some reports of counterfeit batteries involved with overheating and fire incidents.

    So I might suggest asking the phone owner some detailed questions about that phone's history (and it's batteries and charger). Be aware that purchasing replacement batteries might not be a memorable event in somebody's life.

    I would also suggest that if you come to suspect the phone that you consider finding a forensic engineer to check it out. They may be able to determine if there are problems with the battery or circuitry even if it's been pretty badly damaged. Perhaps the insurance company could hire one.

    I hope that was useful.



  3. #3
    cubbie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by steelman View Post
    has anyone had a fire caused by a cell phone? i believe i had my first one last night....LG Go Phone...looking for input....thanks in advance
    Yes I have seen one. Battery exploded and fire self extinguished.

    When fire is cried and danger is neigh,
    "God and the firemen" is the people's cry;
    But when 'tis out and all things righted,
    God is forgotten and the firemen slighted.
    ~Author unknown, from The Fireman's Journal, 18 Oct 1879

  4. #4
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    nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Maryland (DC Suburb)


    We should very carefully be distinguishing whether a fire was caused by a phone or caused by the battery in the phone. I think the battery is the more likely suspect if anything.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Exclamation Cell Phone & Fire

    Well last summer our fire marshall ruled that a cell phone plugged into it's charger was the cause of a goof room and contents fire in a townhome. Appeared to have overheated and caught fire sitting there.

  6. #6
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I would not be surprised that a charger can overheat and start a fire, while speaking of th simple and plain cell phone I would consider the battery as a potential problem source, unless we are talking of ignition a flammable gas/vapor cloud, for which every not specific standard compliant electrical apparatus can be an ignition source. In europe the code standard, for industrial envirnment, is colled Atex.

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