Man reportedly dies from phone battery blast

A Chinese welder has died after a cell phone battery exploded in his chest pocket, according to county officials. Motorola is investigating.

A Chinese man has died after a cell phone battery exploded in his chest pocket, according to the Associated Press and other news sources.

Xiao Jinpeng, a welder, reportedly died while working at the Yingpan Iron Ore Dressing Plant in Gansu. A county official told the Xinhua News Agency that the welder had a Motorola phone in his pocket. Colleagues quoted by the agency said the phone was apparently exposed to high temperatures. Xiao suffered broken ribs, and rib fragments pierced his heart, according to reports.

A Beijing spokesman for Motorola, however, is quoted by the Associated Press as saying it's "highly unlikely" that one of the company's products caused the man's death. The spokesman also questioned whether the man was using a fake Motorola cell phone or battery. Motorola and Chinese authorities are currently investigating the matter.

This is not, of course, the first report of cell phone batteries overheating. In July 2004, a teenage girl in Ontario, Calif., suffered second-degree burns when her Kyocera cell phone burst into flames while in her back pocket. And late last year, NTT DoCoMo recalled some lithium-ion cell phone batteries used in its third-generation handsets because they could generate excessive heat that could short circuit the phone.

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Leslie Katz, Crave's senior editor, heads up a team that covers the most crushworthy (and wackiest) tech, science, and culture around. As a co-host of the now-retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines. E-mail Leslie.


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