Another Samsung Galaxy S4 catches fire, can we stop putting cheap 3rd party accessories in these things?


Samsung Galaxy S4 toasty

Samsung is making local headlines again, not because of record breaking sales or some fancy new hardware feature. It seems another one of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones spontaneously combusted, leaving behind a puddle of ash and soot that nobody would guess was ever a smartphone. A Denton County news station tells the story of exactly what went wrong, pointing to — what else — but a faulty 3rd party accessory as the likely culprit.

While charging her Samsung Galaxy S4, a 13 year old Texas teen woke to the smell of smoke after her phone began to catch fire while charging under her pillow — a popular place for youngsters to stash away their cellphone after late night texting sessions and one of the worst places to store a smartphone while electricity is pumping through its circuitry. Where that alone isn’t likely to cause just any household smartphone to explode (although it could cause a device to reach dangerously high temperatures), the combination of heat and a 3rd party battery in the phone caused the nearly all-plastic phone to light on fire.

As Samsung, or any other manufacturer will tell you, cheap 3rd party accessories like chargers or batteries are never guaranteed to work properly with a device and in some cases, can malfunction. We’ve seen countless headlines of exploding phones, some even resulting in death, simply because consumers were looking for a deal or are ignorant to the safety concerns.

While the teen’s father is subtly placing the blame on Samsung who he feels — despite warning users in the user manual about restricting airflow on charging devices — should put bigger warnings labels on devices if they have the potential to catch fire, likening it to warnings found on cigarettes.

Of course, Samsung assures us their products are safe, but admits greater education on the subject is probably needed to avoid further instances like this in the future. Still, despite the hardware failure not appearing to be any fault of their own, Good-Guy Samsung will be replacing both the teen’s smartphone and bedding (pillow, mattress and all) while they investigate the matter.

All that being said, isn’t it about we, as a people, can finally move past this? How many countless smartphones have to die before we learn cheap 3rd party accessories are the last thing we need to be sticking inside our $700 smartphones? Of course, for those times when it does appear to be actual hardware failure, HTC will be more than happy to help steal another customers for Team HTC.

Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

[FOX 4]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. So, how long before the family lawyers up and takes Samsung to court for “emotional stress” caused by user error?

  2. Just remove warnings from everything and let Darwinism take it’s course. People take their safety for granted daily often without consequence relying on others to keep them from harm when the reality is just as sure as you wake up in the morning, you’re probably risking your life. Don’t put a $10 battery in the $600 phone while charging it with a $3 cable under your pillow while you sleep. Self preservation is worth a lot more than $613.

    1. Pretty much what I was thinking as I read the article. Personally, if I was Samsung I wouldn’t have given them anything. If you want put a cheap battery in your device and insulate it while it’s charging, that’s on you. Ignorance doesn’t fly with me.

      1. While I agree, the media would then smash Samsung for not “making right on their wrong”. Thanks media!

    2. Pushing it a bit far aren’t we?

      Bungee jumping? yeah that’s dumb and I agree with your comment.

      Putting a cheap battery in a phone? Not everyone is tech savvy.

  3. This one is not likely an issue with the child as the parent probably went with the cheapest option of repair or brought it to shop for repair. Li-Ion batteries are somewhat dangerous and should be respected.

    Also, what kind of crappy Samsung battery doesn’t make it through a year without needing a replacement?

    Heat damage to the original on perhaps?

  4. I agree that in most instances, we should avoid 3rd party accessories. However, sometimes you don’t have another option. My GS3 couldn’t even make it through a full day on the standard battery, and Samsung didn’t sell the extended battery in America (I hear there was on in Europe). When the option is constantly switching the battery in my phone or purchasing a third party battery that is significantly larger, I’m going to go with the 3rd party battery. Not saying that’s what happened here, but OEMs should also make sure they produce the items people need so there’s even less of a reason to go to 3rd party accessories.

    1. I’m also sure you don’t plug your phone into a charger, then shove the phone under your pillow when sleeping.

  5. I’m going to have to agree with the father in this case. It reminds me of when I attempted to charge my car battery while I was taking a shower (I wanted to keep a close eye on the battery).
    Imagine my embarrassment when I woke up in the hospital to the hospital staff holding back their laughter as I explained what happened.
    In my case I think the blame should be shared by both AC/Delco and Sears (the maker of the battery charger) as neither product said I could not use them while showering.

    1. I had already started mentally writing my response about how much of an idiot you were by the time it all sunk in. Bravo good sir!

  6. The father is a moron and should not have had kids. This guy is the reason we have warnings on chainsaws saying not to stop with your hand.

    1. Ur a moron for making this statement.

      1. Please tell me how my statement makes me a moron. I get tired of seeing stupid warnings added to things so stupid people don’t hurt themselves. Do we really need a warning on a cup of coffee stating that it might be hot?

        1. I thinks its more that people want a easy way to get money at the expense of others.

  7. “All that being said, isn’t it about we, as a people, can finally move past this?” this sentence does not make sense…

    1. “…isn’t it about TIME we, as a people…”

  8. Wow did Samsung write the article for you? Granted there are dangerous 3rd party accessories out there, but am I supposed to believe that Samsung can’t build safeguards against unsafe charging conditions. If I wanted to be locked into buying only OEM accessories I’d buy an apple.

  9. Nice job DAD, you save a few bucks at the expense of possible injuring your daughter.

    1. To be fair, I don’t know what the situation with Samsung is like, but I know the LG G3 I bought 2 weeks ago, I have not been able to find a single source for the OEM stock battery. LG’s website states out of stock and has been the duration of my ownership.

  10. So daddy ran to the media so that he doesn’t have to own up to his daughters mistake and scam a free replacement and more from Samsung. Regardless of the negative press even when a corporation is not at fault, there needs to be a line drawn and accept responsibility for your own actions.

  11. Please…It was the kids fault for putting the phone under her pillow. That could have happened with the stock battery, too. Why does a 13 year old have a cell phone?

    1. If her family is like a lot of families nowadays, they probably don’t have a home phone. That’s why mine has a cell phone. However, she also leaves her phone in another room on a desk to charge overnight. Also, I don’t think teens have a good grasp of thermodynamics and have no idea about the ramifications of smothering their charging phone under the pillow when they sleep.

      1. LOL, do I need to study electrical engineering or physics to know that sticking my tongue in a wall socket is a bad idea? No, its called common sense.

      2. Teens are definitely smart enough to grasp thermodynamics. I was tinkering with electronics when I was 8. Unfortunately, these days too many kids are absorbed in social media as well as other forms of media. They aren’t taking time to ask “why?”and learn about the world around them. They’d rather learn how to twerk like Miley.

    2. That’s just a stupid comment. I had a phone when I was in 6th grade, and you think that 13 year old kids don’t need to call mom and dad or keep in touch with people? Geeze man.

      1. There’s a difference between a phone to call your mom and dad with and a smartphone. A very big difference.

        1. Because the battery explodes or because they can play Candy Crush? Come on. Kids as young as 8 years old have iPod Touch devices and tablets.

      2. So she can sext… Duh!

    3. That’s just a stupid comment.

  12. I wonder what brand battery it was.

  13. 3rd party accessories are fine. I really don’t think this had anything to do with the quality of the charging cable or brick.

  14. I’m surprised that people are putting so much blame on the 13 year-old. I’m sure that a lot of people use their phone in bed, plug it in to charge and fall asleep. Stuffing it under the pillow, while an odd thing to do, isn’t something that should cause a phone to catch fire and melt.

    1. Absolutely it poses a fire risk. Electrical energy charges phone, energy creates heat, heat temperature rises due to insulation and bam! Not really a hard concept. Yes, many people do it and many escape tragedy. I even have to harp on my wife, time to time, about falling asleep in bed with the phone charging. I know for a fact that not every phone/tablet exploding/melting makes it in the news, so it happens more often than you might think.

    2. It is when you add a cheap 3rd party battery

  15. She leaves it under the pillow and it’s the accessory’s fault!?

  16. Samsung is not to blame for this as far as I can tell. However, they and other companies need to stop screwing US customers. Samsung as well as most other companies give their overseas customers extra batteries with their devices as well as cradles and charging pads.

    1. Half the problem is that overseas, generally speaking, they pay a whole lot more for their devices. We get less because we pay less.

      Example: (Galaxy S5 from Amazon MSRP taken)

      UK: £599.00 ($1017.34 USD)
      US: $799.99

      for $200 id give you a spare battery / charger too

  17. I’m pretty sure this ends with lawsuits and Samsung no longer having removable batteries.
    Oh well.

  18. My S4 reached over 100 degrees C at one point (my CPU temp is displayed in the notification bar) because I was downloading/charging and ended up falling asleep with it under my pillow. I awoke to a message saying the charging was paused because the battery was too hot, and, after turning it off and letting it cool down, there wasn’t any kind of damage. I’ve never seen a case of exploding/melting/combusting phones where the owner only uses OEM parts.

    Saving a few pounds on electrical/chemical hardware is just not worth the risk.

  19. So this dad wants Samsung to put a warning on their device that says if you take a part out and put a different part in from another company, something might go wrong?

    Seems about right…

    p.s. how much you want to bet this is one of those “3rd party batteries” that dosent have any certifications for sale in the us.

  20. It’s probably touchwiz’s fault.

  21. Spending $700 on a phone to put in a $5 battery? That’s what you ask for

  22. This girl did nothing extreme or uncommon with this phone. If Samsung devices are of sound design why is this like the 5th exploding galaxy article I’veread? And wwhere’s the the HTC moto or lg stories? (Pro tip: sleep with one eye open 1+ users)and if this “perfect storm” is so simple to recreate then then theirs a bigger issue with these devices than “she used a cheap battery”

  23. “How many countless smartphones have to die before we learn cheap 3rd party accessories are the last thing we need to be sticking inside our $700 smartphones?”
    Not enough, looking at the absurd prices Samsung charges for official accesories.

  24. Seriously. It’s essentially a handheld computer with a processor that is going to produce heat. Sticking your phone under your pillow is as asinine as throwing a duvet over you PC would be .

    1. Same reason you wouldn’t put a laptop down on the bed

  25. From Texas? I’m suprised the father isn’t blamming this on Obama?

    1. Even though Obamas the guy that allows China to export these batteries to the United States…….

  26. Thankfully the girl wasn’t seriously hurt. The S6 would have a big red warning lable on the back. The next big thing!

  27. If phone companies would stop their blatant over-charging for simple accessories anywhere between 500% to 1000% that would be great. I already bought your $700 phone, don’t charge me another $50 for a charger, that costs $2 to produce. This is why the cheap 3rd party accessory market exists. The phone companies created it, as a result of their own greed. Charge me a fair price, and I will buy the original accessory.

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