Samsung phone catches fire under girl’s pillow

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DALLAS — A 13-year-old Texas girl was recently awoken by a smoldering Samsung cell phone under her pillow, according to a report from KDFW.

Ariel Tolfree told KDFW she placed her Samsung Galaxy S4 under her pillow as she fell asleep. Later that night, she smelled something burning.

“I didn’t think much of it, so I went back to sleep and then I woke up again and it was more prominent,” Tolfree said.

Tolfree’s dad believes the phone overheated, causing the battery to swell and ignite a small fire.

A spokesperson for Samsung told KDFW the battery inside the phone was a replacement unit and not an original Samsung battery.

Samsung’s “COMMON PHONE” battery warning states:

“Do not use incompatible cell phone batteries and chargers. Some websites and second-hand dealers not associated with reputable manufacturers and carriers, might be selling incompatible or even counterfeit batteries and chargers. Consumers should purchase manufacturer or carrier-recommended products and accessories. If unsure about whether a replacement battery or charger is compatible, contact the manufacturer of the battery or charger.”

A warning can also be found inside the phone’s manual which states covering the device with bedding or other material could restrict airflow and cause a fire:

“Covering the device with bedding, your body, thick clothing or any other materials that significantly affect air flow may affect the performance of the phone and poses a possible risk of fire or explosion, which could lead to serious bodily injuries or damage to property.”

“If anything, they should put a big warning on it, like a cigarette label, if that’s the case,” Thomas told KDFW.

Samsung said they take any instance of a battery fire “very seriously” and requested for the phone to be mailed to them for a full investigation. The company has offered to replace the phone, the bedding, the mattress and pillow.


  • Shane

    Obviously her fault for putting it under the pillow. The company doesn’t owe her anything for her mistake. Time for people to start taking responsibility for their actions and stop looking for free hand outs and placing the blame on others. That could apply to a lot of America right there.

    • Waya

      I have the galaxy s5 and I will have it in my hand and it will get extremely hot and a message will pop saying cooling down it will get to hot to hold and I have the original charger and everything so yeah she put it under her pillow and it caught fire but there is something up with the phone

      • Leigh

        It’s not just samsung. Htc and iPhone do it too. All phone batteries get hot from lack of air flow and overuse. I’ve had it happen on all 3.

  • Laura Tullock-Beckwith

    any phone can get too hot. if you don’t cut it off. i have a samsung galaxy s4. i have had it for almost 2 years. if you use it alot it will get hot. i let my battery run down to 0 charge then put it on charge. if its on and on charge it can still get too hot. so yeah it’s her fault. and i wouldnt be surprised if they had a recall on it because of her negligence.

  • Bran

    Not an original Samsung battery…not Samsungs fault or responsibility in my opinion. My S3 gets a little hot if I use it a lot. I just set it down and let it cool off or take the otterbox off.
    I had a stupid htc and that thing got so hot I couldn’t even hold it. Got rid of it for Samsung and have been much happier.
    All phone batteries get hot when used a lot or stuffed under a pillow!

  • Paula Wright

    I know someone who died because she had her phone plugged to the charger under her covers. Bed caught fire, she got burned and died a few days later. This was an adult who definitely should have known better. Please read the manuals and follow the advice. That’s what it’s there for and these products were probably tested for that SO FOLLOW IT.

  • lauren

    No matter under bed. Almost a couple months ago.. I use video allday and It went so hot and phone shut down over over. I gave up i have limit to use this phone. Something going on samsung battery or imdide

    • D-Nice

      ALL Smartphones get hot depending on where the battery is located. GOD-giving good common sense would tell you to turn off your device, shutdown running apps while charging the phone. Just Google why phone battery get hot and a wealth of knowledge will explain that whatever you’re carelessly are doing is wrong and show you how to handle your smartphone. Having a smartphone does not excuse your stupidity.

  • Tyrone Powell

    Almost happened to me. I was charging my S4 with an extended aftermarket battery when I was at a hotel. I had it charging under my pillow because I didn’t want my friends messing with it while I was sleeping. I woke up in the middle of the night from a loud sound, I reached for my phone, burned (not a permanent burn) my hand on the glass and the screen stated it shut down due to high temperature, I had to unplug and quickly disassemble the back cover and dual battery. Barely saved my phone.

  • Joseph Townsend

    As I posted on the facebook page I had similar issue but luckily I woke up before it got out of hand but mine was lightly smoking and had a strong smell of electical fire to it, burnt my hand decent and was on a flat hard surface, also all parts where OEM and samsung refused to do anything except replace broken parts on the phone not even replace the phone itself. Check out the video I posted last month when this happened here please share before worse happens!

  • Leigh

    This isn’t the only phone it could happen with. I’ve had a Samsung, an HTC and an iphone. All 3 got hot when covered by bedding and such. There needs to be a fail safe on all phones that will automatically turn the phone off when it gets to a certain temperature. If the phone is off, the battery is not being used and then can cool down. You won’t hear of this happening on a phone when it has been turned off.

  • Janet Roberts

    I have a Samsung galaxy 2 that is causing me the same problems. The problem I have ii with the geek squad protection plan I purchasedthrough best but. I have had 4 phones and 5 replacement batteries since April 2013. I am not sure why the keep sending me the same phone wwith the same issues.

  • deidre

    I just want to say I have the s4 and it gets extremely hot sometimes and goes into cool down mode when it is just sitting there. All original parts and charger. I think its something that should be looked into!

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