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Lorain woman says cell phone exploded in her pocket: ‘I could be dead’

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LORAIN, Ohio – A Lorain woman said a Samsung Gusto 3 cell phone exploded in her pocket Saturday, and the company is now planning to investigate the incident.

Dorthiea Preston, 72, said she was sitting in her apartment when the phone exploded, melting holes in her pants.

“It was a real loud bang. I mean loud,” she said. “I was terrified; I mean I was hoping I wasn't going to catch on fire.”

Preston, who’s handicapped, said smoke filled her living room as she rushed to remove the phone from her pocket. The incident melted the flip phone and left the battery bloated.

She said she was thankful she wasn’t holding the phone to her ear at the time. She wasn’t seriously injured.

“I could be blind; it could've gone into my brain,” she said. “I could be dead.”

Preston provided a receipt showing she purchased the Gusto 3 at a Medina Walmart on March 24.

Samsung has had problems with phones melting in the past, but the Gusto 3 model was not recalled.

Last year, Samsung stopped production of its Galaxy Note 7 phones and recalled devices on the market after problems with batteries overheating. The Painesville Fire Department blamed a September fire on a woman’s Galaxy S7 Edge, which was left on a charger.

A Samsung spokesperson provided the following statement to Fox 8 News:

"We stand behind the quality and safety of the many Gusto 3 phones in the U.S., and there are no known issues with these devices. We have reached out to Ms. Preston to learn more about what happened and offer our support. Mobile phones are complex devices and there are many factors that could contribute to their malfunction. Until we examine the device it is impossible to tie this to overheating. Any customer who has questions or experiences an issue with a Samsung product should contact us directly at 1-800-SAMSUNG."

Fox 8 News also reached out to Walmart for comment but did not get a response by deadline Monday.

Preston said she’s warning others to beware. “They should take them all off the market is what they should do,” she said. “And they should warn people and let them know.”