A St. Petersburg, Fla., family whose Jeep became engulfed in flames on Labor Day believes a newly purchased Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is to blame.
Nathan Dornacher told WTSP Tampa Bay that he and his family were dropping some things off at the house on Labor day and left the Samsung smartphone on the center console of the Jeep Grand Cherokee charging.
When Mr. Dornacher went back outside he discovered the inside of the vehicle was on fire. Within minutes, the fire had spread from the dash to the entire vehicle, leaving it a skeleton full of ash and melted materials.
St. Petersburg Deputy Fire Marshal Steve Lawrence told WTSP that the investigation is ongoing and so far they haven’t been able to verify if the fire was indeed a result of the Galaxy Note 7 phone, which Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung recalled on Sept. 2 amid mounting reports that the devices were exploding and starting fires.
Samsung had released the Note 7 smartphones in the U.S. and seven other counties just two weeks before recalling them. The company says that bad lithium-ion batteries from one of its two battery suppliers are to blame.
At least 99 incidents of the phones combusting have been reported, and incidents continue to happen as some people continue to use them. Recently, a 6-year-old Brooklyn, N.Y., boy was treated for burn injuries after a Note 7 phone he was watching a video on exploded in his hands.
Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration warned passengers not to use, charge, or pack their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones aboard airplanes for fear that a catastrophic explosion or fire could occur. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission echoed those warnings two days later, advising consumers to avoid using the phones. The agency also said that it is working with Samsung on a formal recall of the devices in the U.S.