Brianne says she woke up early Monday morning to a horrifying sight: Her Samsung Galaxy S6 Active was on fire next to her bed. Unlike many previous instances of phones smoldering or going up in flames, she says her device was not being charged or plugged into anything at the time.
A Consumerist reader (and a personal acquaintance of mine), Brianne tells us she was awakened by a strange noise.
“I thought something got stuck in the blades of the fan,” she recalls. “The sound changed and became a fizzle, then pop. Now smoke and a horrific smell is coming from my night stand.”
That smell, she tells Consumerist, was the melted plastic of her Samsung S6 Active running over her night table.
“Yes,” she says, “my phone literally exploded.” Happily, nobody was hurt, “just a little melted plastic on the table.”
The phone, however, appears to be damaged beyond use, as Brianne shared in photos to Consumerist:
Samsung launched the S6 Active in June 2015, and Brianne tells Consumerist she got her device in December of that year. Her phone had not previously exhibited any problems, says Brianne. It was using its original battery, which “still held a pretty good charge,” and had neither suffered any damage nor even run hot, in her experience.
Making the situation even scarier: Brianne says the phone wasn’t even plugged in to the charger at the time it blew. She had unplugged it at 4:00 in the morning when she went to check on their seven-month-old, she reports. At the time, she says her phone was working completely normally. When she went back to bed a little while later, she didn’t put the phone back on the charger.
There have been reports of S6 Active devices overheating and melting or exploding before, but in those cases the phone was plugged in and drawing a charge.
In Sept. 2016, a paramedic’s new Galaxy S6 Active reportedly caught fire while charging at the ambulance service where he worked.
The CPSC’s public complaint database also has two reports of S6 Active devices catching fire while charging. In June, 2016, one consumer reported to the CPSC that their Galaxy S6 Active ignited while charging, with the original Samsung-provided charger. Another consumer filed a similar complaint in Oct. 2016, claiming that during charging their phone got hot enough — clocking in at 152 degrees — to melt the charger itself.
The public complaint database also has about a dozen other reports of various Samsung S6 phones catching fire, including one Galaxy S6 that, like Brianne’s, wasn’t plugged in at the time or acting oddly beforehand.
A spokesperson for Samsung tells Consumerist that the company stands behind “the quality and safety of the more than 10 million Galaxy S6 family phones in the U.S., and there are no known issues with these devices.”
The company has spoken with Brianne “to learn more about what happened and are in the process of retrieving the device.”
However, “Until Samsung is able to obtain and examine any device,” the spokesperson added, “it is impossible to determine the true cause of any incident. Mobile phones are complex products and there are many factors that could contribute to their malfunction. Any customer who has questions or experiences an issue with a Samsung product should contact us directly at 1-800-SAMSUNG.”