The unnamed 13-year-old was at school Friday when her iPhone caught fire in her pocket. She had Apple’s iPhone “C” model – a less expensive and less popular variation that was released at the same time as the newest iPhone 5 models.
After she sat down, she reportedly heard a “popping” sound, and realized that her phone had started to smolder in her back pocket. Classmates said smoke began to billow around the girl, who had to remove her pants. Female classmates assisted the girl, while her male classmates were ushered outside.
“She knew right away something was wrong and, in a panic, knew her pants were on fire caused by the cell phone,” Kennebunk principal Jeff Rodman told the Morning Sentinel.
Judy Milligan, the girl’s mother, said she was shocked when the school called to tell her what happened, and had never heard of a phone bursting into flames.
A Kennebunk fire official said an electrical short may have been the cause. “People should obviously use caution when placing their phones in their back pockets so as not to crush them and cause an electrical short,” the official said.
There has been no official word from Apple on this problem, though an online search does turn up a few stories of phones catching fire while they were charging. This is the first reported story of an iPhone combusting on its own.