Smartphone explodes in man’s pocket causing serious burns

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NEW YORK -- A man in New York is recovering after his iPhone exploded in his pocket.

Erik Johnson had his iPhone in his pocket on Valentine's Day when he said it just spontaneously exploded.

"I bent over to get keys and all I heard was [a] pop," Johnson said. "I was literally jumping up and down trying to get the phone out of my pocket, but I had dress pants on. I think the phone melted my pockets shut so I couldn't get into it and I had to rip my pants off. A couple of people actually said they could smell my body burning."

Johnson spent 10 days in the hospital with second and third degree burns.

Although this is a rare occurrence, tech expert, Ronald Gerber said the tiniest bit of damage to a phone's circuit board, or the use of third-party charging devices can cause the battery to overheat and spew lithium lava.

"There have been millions if not billions of phones sold in the last year, the rate of incidents is marginal, it's infinitesimal," Gerber said.

In this case, Johnson said he used an Apple cable to charge his iPhone.

"Obviously Apple has to take a closer look at what they're putting out in the stream of commerce before they go out and sell these items that could potentially be this dangerous," lawyer, Mike Della said.

Johnson said now he's focused on getting his leg back to the way it was before.

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