MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Frayser family lost everything after a fast-moving fire blew through their house Wednesday, and now officials say a charging cell phone is to blame for the inferno.
The Memphis Fire Department found that the cell phone was at fault for the fire that caused damages totaling $45,000. It overheated while charging in a bedroom, igniting the room and sending the rest of the home up in flames shortly after, and a neighbor caught the whole event on camera.
“It’s shocking because a lot of people leave their cellphone plugged up,” a neighbor said. “It kinda threw me off.”
Neighbors said this is a call for them to be extra vigilant from now on.
“You leave it too long; probably gets too hot at night,” another neighbor said.
Experts say fires can be started this way.
Jon Burnett, regional director for Dang it Repair, fixes phones and other electronic devices. He said it’s best to think about where you place your cellphone to charge, especially at night.
“Anytime you’re charging something, it’s going to be giving off some heat,” Burnett said. “You trap it under a pillow, and it’s just going to amplify that heat, until something pops. The other thing you can do is make sure your battery is in good shape.”
Stores like Burnett’s can see how much life a cell battery has.
He also said to be sure to make sure the inside of your charging port is clean.
“Things can get jammed in there from going in your purse or your pocket, lint from your jeans, and you put that charger in, it’s just gonna keep packing that stuff in, and you know lint is combustible, so the right things line up, and it’s gonna go up,” Burnett said.
A few checks could make a difference.
Experts also say to make sure you’re using reputable batteries and chargers for your devices.
Thankfully, no one was injured in the fire.
WREG did ask the fire department what kind of phone was charging that ignited the fire, but so far we have not heard back.