Samsung Galaxy S III self combusts while charging

A Reddit user has witnessed his Samsung Galaxy S III self-combust while charging, saying the entire phone caught fire right before his very eyes. vizionx1208 heard a loud noise, followed by some weird squeaking noises, while he was sleeping beside his charging smartphone, only to wake up and see smoke pouring from the device and producing a horrible smell.

The user realized that his phone was beginning to catch fire and dumped some water on the device, but not before the phone began to melt and spit plastic about the place, lightly burning one of his fingers. Taking a look at the battery after the self combustion reveals what looks like a bulging sack of fluid, rather than the usual slim Galaxy S III battery.

What could have caused this self combustion? Likely there was something wrong with the battery, with the two electrodes potentially combining inside the casing to cause a chemical reaction that produces a lot of heat very quickly. Hopefully someone at Samsung gets in touch with the owner of the now-dead phone to at least offer a replacement device, if not a few freebies for having his phone explode right before his eyes.

Source: Reddit via GSMArena | Thanks for the tip, BailaSheyla!

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43 Comments

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It probably combusted because something was wrong with the battery or the charger. But I do hope that Samsung will replace it. But they have to I think, because of the warranty and everything.

Well one thing we wont know is was his phone rooted and did he install some junk software to run the CPU faster which caused the chips to get really hot and spread the heat to the battery which caused it to explode. LOL /S

The Galaxy S III, sets the house on fire !!!!!! - from DJ Bobby D who sets the night on fire !!!

Well... In the moment of panic .. reasoning is not always the first thing to come up! And about the "fire pattern" which some users claim might be a lie, I'm not covering his ass, but that does not mean a thing, he could've moved the phone before taking the picture.
Some people just enjoy criticizing instead of appealing good or even common sense.

Grayski said,
Well if you will charge a phone on a bed, covered with duvet / pillow, it will get warm.

Does that apply to an iPod touch 5th generation as well?

Woah...battery mutation.
A super rare case?
Did he buy the lottery?

Luckily it happened when he was around or his phone could have burnt his house down.

I know my phone gets a little warm -- Galaxy Appeal - when I have it charging in a bed... but I put it on a hard surface and no head build up.

Though truth be told somewhere buried in the instructions it says that.
The back of the phone probably if it like mine has what looks like mic holes but is really a vent.

I'll be really surprised if Samsung does anything for this person, or even responds to the negative press they're getting about it. They don't care about their customers.

ahinson said,
I'll be really surprised if Samsung does anything for this person, or even responds to the negative press they're getting about it. They don't care about their customers.

watch them say its got water damage and wont replace it :-)

Poor guy, I hope he gets a new phone from Samsung for that effort...

I wonder if he was using a grey-import battery?

It was probably more likely an issue with the charging/voltage monitoring circuitry, not internal shorting. Lithium batteries have very tight charging tolerances. If the monitoring circuitry is off scale even a little, events like this can happen. It can happen with any device (however it's very rare due to strict testing done at factories during manufacture).

"Thankfully the user realized that his phone was beginning to catch fire and dumped some water on the device". This the thing you should never do when you have a electricity and chemical fire

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
"Thankfully the user realized that his phone was beginning to catch fire and dumped some water on the device". This the thing you should never do when you have a electricity and chemical fire

Exactly what I was gonna say, the guy's an idiot and was lucky he didn't cause an explosion.

From what I've read, water is one of the best things to put on a lithium ion battery fire. You don't want to smother it as it will make it worse.

What is more stupid is whoever wrote the article saying "Thankfully..." for dropping the water...on something thats plugged in....and on fire

Open Minded said,
From what I've read, water is one of the best things to put on a lithium ion battery fire. You don't want to smother it as it will make it worse.

Wrong. Anyone with even mild chemistry knowledge knows you never put water on a lithium fire. You can actually start a fire by putting water on lithium.

The burn pattern on the blanket isn't the same picture to picture either...

I smell a lie.

0nyX said,
What is more stupid is whoever wrote the article saying "Thankfully..." for dropping the water...on something thats plugged in....and on fire

He did the right thing, smothering Lithium Ion batteries will fuel an acid explosion (battery tech is harmless now). Using water would only put out the fire and make a bad smell, the charger would either turn off or not be doing anything if it shorted, its a standard that has to be followed to pass regulation so it doesnt matter if water got on it.

magebleck said,

Wrong. Anyone with even mild chemistry knowledge knows you never put water on a lithium fire. You can actually start a fire by putting water on lithium.

Well then I'd smother it then douse the blanket with water. Just to be sure. ;-)

n_K said,

Exactly what I was gonna say, the guy's an idiot and was lucky he didn't cause an explosion.
As we can see, not all iDiots use iPhone. The use to own iPhone and switched to Android and still try to do stupid things /s

In all seriousness, this could have been more serious. For example, suppose he had his phone in the car, running while he stood outside taking to someone and had the phone on the charger in the car and it caught on fire? Suppose it was in his hands while charging?.

Jokes aside this could have been really serious. There was already an iPhone that exploded on a plane in someones pocket and it wasn't even charging.

Also I read someone say this is the phone makers fault? Doesn't Samsung make their own batteries? Just asking.

Warranty or not. I don;t expect a phone to catch on fire unless I pour gasoline on it or lighter fluid and torch it myself.

Since the GS3 is only just barely near a year old, Samsung or his carrier should be replacing it with no problem. I am sure the carrier will take care of him. Oh and if he has the carrier insurance, tell them you are not paying for that as it is not a user fault. It is a complete hardware failure which is covered. In fact, I'd make the carrier give me a brand new device not a refurb.

Damn, I so wish that this had happened to either an Apple or Windows Phone so we could see the same bickering about which one sucks more whenever either are mentioned.

Thing I don't get is its a hardware fault not really OS dependant, so if anything its a stab at Samsung and the OS should ideally not have any play on the phone busting into flames

Are you serious ? They have been quite a few of self combusted iPhone or other type of phones out there as well. Saw it a few time in the news and this is without calculating those that are not reported.

A battery ''blowing up'' is not a rare thing. Look at the Boeing 787 fiasco, they are technically Li-on batteries

the other two missed the sarcasm I agree with you.

Zagadka said,
Damn, I so wish that this had happened to either an Apple or Windows Phone so we could see the same bickering about which one sucks more whenever either are mentioned.

rippleman said,
the other two missed the sarcasm I agree with you.

Well .. you should know that in today's world, you never know if somebody is ignorant or sarcastic on the internet Use proper smiley if you're going to be sarcastic.

Nope. I've got a Nokia phone on wich the batery was close to explode. That was 2 years ago. Hopefully I've unplug the charger just after the back cover of the phone was projected at 2m from the phone - the battery has inflated twice as normal size.