Florida man Nathan Dornacher, who had his Galaxy Note 7 for only four days, didn’t know Samsung had issued a “recall” until his phone “exploded” and the resulting fire totaled his Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Fox 13 reported that while the family unloaded a desk from the Jeep and carried it inside, Dornacher left his Note 7 “charging in the SUV when it blew up like a ticking time bomb.” The “beloved” and heavily modified Jeep was roasted toasty as in completely totaled. Insurance will reportedly cover the vehicle but not the thousands of dollars in modifications put into the SUV.
Dornacher, formerly an Apple fanboy, said he switched from iPhones to Note smartphones and has had every new Note since then. He didn’t know about the battery-fire risk, saying he had been enjoying the phone without any issues for four days. He told Fox, “The last thought in my head is that a brand new device – something as simple as a phone – is going to burn down my car or my house or hurt a family member.”
Now that his ride is trashed, he said he doesn’t feel inclined to let another Samsung product into his home.
Exploding Note 7 in Australian hotel room
Samsung claimed that just 24 in every one million units are at risk of catching fire and that, as of September 1, there had been 35 phones with battery cell issues. However, a burning Note 7 in an Australian hotel room, which caused nearly $1,400 in damages, makes at least 36 cases. The phone’s owner said, “My brand new Note 7 exploded this morning while I was still asleep; it was plugged in and charging.” The phone was fried and the hotel room bed sheets and carpet were charred as the owner “whacked” the burning phone to the floor, burning a finger while doing so.
Another ‘exploding’ Note 7 in Florida home
Another exploding Note 7, also in Florida, reportedly burned the owner’s hand before he dropped the phone on a nearby table “as it finished burning.” The owner’s friend, who posted images of the destroyed phone and partially melted tabletop, said he didn’t believe the phone was charging at the time. If true, that makes 37 times a Note 7 has caught fire and the totaled Jeep makes at least 38.
Regarding the totaled Jeep, a Samsung spokesperson told Fox 13 News:
“We are aware of the incident and we are working with Mr. Dornacher to investigate his case and ensure we do everything we can for him. Consumer safety is Samsung's highest priority. With regard to the Galaxy Note7, we are asking owners to take advantage of the Product Exchange Program announced on Friday of last week. The program offers Note7 owners the opportunity to exchange the phone for a new one. More details on the program can be found at http://www.samsung.com/us/note7exchange/.”
3 airlines ban Galaxy Note 7 usage; FAA considering ban
Notice that Samsung talks about an exchange, not a recall. That lack of a proper and official recall has caused problems for the FAA; Gizmodo reported that the agency would have banned the Note 7 if Samsung had recalled the phones the “right way.”
“The FAA and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are working on guidance related to this issue,” an FAA spokesperson told Gizmodo. “If the device is recalled by the manufacturer, airline crew and passengers will not be able to bring recalled batteries or electronics that contain recalled batteries in the cabin of an aircraft, or in carry-on and checked baggage.”
If banned, will the TSA start inspecting each person’s phone to determine if it is a Note 7?
Meanwhile, three Australian airlines are not waiting on Samsung to “officially” recall the phones; Reuters reported, “Qantas, its budget unit Jetstar and Virgin Australia” have “banned passengers from using or charging Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Note 7 smartphones during flights due to concerns over the phone's fire-prone batteries.”
Warning signs before Note 7 catches fire?
For Note 7 owners worried about spontaneous combustion, a discussion on Reddit pointed out that none of the phones are actually “exploding” when the battery catches fire. As for warning signs before the Note “blows up,” one commenter claimed owners allegedly might first “hear a popping sound almost like popcorn in a microwave;” but many phones may not even do that before fizzling and starting to burn.