Samsung cell phone battery explodes in man's pocket

For the second time in a year, a lithium-ion battery in a Samsung mobile device catches fire.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
The battery of a 2011 Samsung Galaxy Note was said to have caught fire in a man's pants pocket. CNET

Lithium-ion batteries are notorious for overheating, catching on fire, or exploding. Yet, they're in most electronics that people use daily.

One such battery set ablaze over the weekend while in a man's pants pocket, according to the Associated Press. The man was walking around with his Samsung mobile phone in his pocket when the battery caught on fire, giving him second-degree burns and a one-inch wound on his thigh. Officials said the battery was not inside the phone when it exploded.

The incident took place in South Korea, which is where Samsung is based. According to the local newspaper the battery was from a 2011 Galaxy Note, although the Associated Press said that is still unconfirmed.

This was the second known time in the last year that a Samsung battery has caught fire in South Korea, according to the Associated Press. However, the smartphone maker told the news outlet that it was not planning an investigation.

Lithium-ion batteries are known for having issues with heat. As they have become more widely used, several similar incidents have occurred over the years. A cell phone battery spontaneously caught fire in a man's back pants pocket at Defcon last year; and, in 2009, a man was killed by his exploding phone severing his neck artery.

Nokia, Dell, Apple, Lenovo, Panasonic, Sharp, Toshiba, Hitachi, and Fujitsu have all recalled products in the past due to overheating batteries. And, most recently, Boeing's 787 Dreamliner was ordered grounded until 2014 due to on-board fires involving lithium-ion batteries.

CNET contacted Samsung for comment. We'll update the story when we get more information.