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iPhone catches fire: Apple iPhone 5c bursts into flames in Maine teen’s pants

An Apple iPhone 5c caught fire in the pocket of a 13-year-old girl’s pants as she was sitting down shortly before her first-period French class at her middle school in Maine. The girl, who had received the Apple iPhone 5c just two months earlier from her mother, suffered second-degree burns and had to be taken to the hospital, reported the Los Angeles Times on Feb. 3, 2014.

Portland Press Herald, Tina Burgess

The incident of the green Apple iPhone 5c catching fire happened on Friday morning when the 13-year-old girl was sitting down shortly before her class was about to start. Friends who were nearby heard a pop coming from the iPhone in the middle school student’s pocket and saw smoke.

“Immediately, smoke starts billowing from around the student,” said Jeff Rodman, principal of the Middle School of the Kennebunks. “She knew right away something was wrong and, in a panic, knew her pants were on fire caused by the cellphone.”

Despite her panic, the girl immediately applied “stop, drop and roll,” which reduced the flames and the injuries she suffered.

“The phone fell out of her pocket ... and it was still smoldering. Her pants were still on fire,” said Maine principal Jeff Rodman.

Other girls who were sitting nearby, helped the 13-year-old to get out of her burning pants in a corner of the room while the boys ran to alert the teacher who was standing just outside of the classroom. Once the pants were off the middle school student and the fire had been extinguished, a teacher wrapped the girl in a blanket while everyone waited for rescue workers and firefighters to arrive.

The girl who suffered second-degree burns when her iPhone caught fire in her pants was released from the hospital after 45 minutes. In regard to the cause of the Apple iPhone 5c fire, Andrew Rosenstein, owner of TechPort in Portland, which repairs Apple products, commented that there have been sporadic reports of cell phone fires, though typically the cell phones that caught fire were being charged.

“There’s basically a lithium-ion type rechargeable battery built in (to an iPhone). The battery, as it charges and discharges, it’s really a chemical reaction that can generate heat,” said Andrew Rosenstein. “It’s very rare there can be an issue, but any battery is just a chemical composition that can be flammable in extreme circumstances.”

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