‘I had to rip my pants off,’ Man burned after iPhone explodes in pocket

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A New York man is recovering from second and third degree burns after he said his iPhone exploded in his pocket.

Erik Johnson says his iPhone was in his pocket on Valentine’s Day when it spontaneously exploded.


“I bent over to get keys and all I heard was a ‘pop’ and after a little ‘ssshh,’ smoke coming out and just like an instant burn. My leg just starts going on fire, try to get it out, can’t get it out. I was literally jumping up and down to get the phone out of my pocket but I had dress pants on. I think the phone melted my pockets shut so I couldn’t get into it and I had to rip my pants off. A couple of people actually said they could smell my body burning.”


Johnson spent 10 days in the burn unit with second and third-degree burns on his inner thigh.

The metal case on his iPhone 5C is warped and stuck to the phone.

Tech expert Ronald Gerber says the smallest bit of damage to a phone’s circuit board, or the use of third-party charging devices, can cause the battery to overheat and spew lithium lava.

“I guess, like, when you’re branding a bull or something like that, that’s what it felt like. It really did,” said Johnson.

In this case, Johnson says he used an Apple cable for his iPhone.

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