Samsung Galaxy S III Explodes in a Swiss Woman’s Pocket


The phrase “explosion in your pants” just took on a less fun, more grisly meaning. An 18-year-old Swiss woman received second and third degree burns when her Samsung Galaxy S III exploded in her pocket, setting her on fire. 

According to French-language Swiss publication Le Matin, Fanny Schlatter, an apprentice painter, was loading paint cans into her boss’s truck when she heard a noise like a “firecracker” (according to Google Translate) and smelled chemicals before her work pants caught on fire. 

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In a matter of seconds, the flames spread to her shoulders but were quickly stopped by her boss, who pulled her into a nearby store and put out the fire with water. He then drove her to a nearby medical center. Schlatter suffered second and third degree burns to her right thigh, and to her recollection, the burns caused her to smell like a “burnt pig”. 

She is on medical leave until August 15, and has currently lost feeling in her right thigh. She reportedly plans to launch a planned criminal complaint against Samsung, or “plainte penale”. 

In response to the incident, a Samsung spokesperson said, “Once we have gotten hold of the product in question, we will conduct a thorough examination to determine the exact cause of this incident. We would like to assure our customers that we have always employed strict quality control and safety standards to ensure a safe and pleasant user experience.”

This is apparently not the first case of a Samsung Galaxy S III spontaneous combustion, which is probably the result of a lithium-ion battery defect. UK’s The Register reports that in May this year, Reddit user visionx1208 also saw his S III catch on fire. Fortunately for him, his phone was on his table when it happened and he suffered no injuries. 

Are exploding smartphone batteries the new exploding laptop batteries? If they are, they look to be much more dangerous than the latter, since people tend to keep their phones closer to their bodies than they would laptops.

Cherlynn Low
Cherlynn Low
Cherlynn joined the Laptopmag team in June 2013 and has since been writing about all things tech and digital with a focus on mobile and Internet software development. She also edits and reports occasionally on video. She graduated with a M.S. in Journalism (Broadcast) from Columbia University in May 2013 and has been designing personal websites since 2001.
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