Arkansas 911 News

The Dangers Of Charging Your Phone – GARLAND COUNTY

My Name is Anthony Perry.

Some of you may know that I work for Arkansas911News and if you didn’t, that’s ok, not everyone knows that I’m on board yet. I’m not here for recognition. What I am here for is to bring you the news and current emergency events in and around Garland County. This morning I experienced one of these events, firsthand, in my very home. Let me tell you about it.

I’m just like every other person in the world. I’m a pretty average guy. Just like most people, I generally plug my phone into the wall charger and then go to bed. Well, last night, on schedule and as usual I plugged my dying iPhone into the wall outlet charger. I went off to bed and looked forward to the next day.

The Next Day………..I awoke and immediately noticed that I had not awakened to my usual alarm sounds, so I peeked at the clock. Maybe I had more time to sleep right? Wrong. I was 3 hours overdue for my wake up call from the trusty iPhone. Looking at my phone I noticed it had something sticking out of it, where you plug in the charger. What is that? I asked myself. I got up and grabbed the phone, just knowing that I was seeing things. Wrong again.

IT WAS MY CHARGER!!! It was burned with no cord attached. Now I have been awake for a total of 55 seconds, so as my brain is catching up to the morning lag, I smell smoke. WHAT IS THAT? I asked that one out loud. I look down at the end of the bed where I keep the phone and it’s charger and Oh….My….God…..My iPhone cord is lying on a piece of construction paper, still plugged into the wall. The paper is starting to burn, so I grabbed the cord (which was hot the entire length) and ripped it from the wall, then focusing my attention on the burning paper. Burning is a strong word for this, It was scorching an area of the construction paper. I picked up the paper and made sure there was no more danger. Now my phone’s alarm hadn’t gone off to wake me up so I tried to power it on, no such luck. Thankfully the phone was unharmed and plugging in a new Apple Certified charger brought it back to life….after 15 or so minutes.

Now, if you’re anything like me I NEEDED to know what happened here. So off to GoogleLand I go. 5 minutes later and I had my answer. It had to have been a third party charger that was not certified to meet Apple’s Standards. I had just purchased the iPhone to replace a previous phone that was on the fritz, and I purchased it used from a private party. The charger came with the phone. I would have never even imagined that this would have been a risk, but lesson learned. It won’t happen again. If you purchase an iDevice from anyone other than a legitimate authorized retailer or Apple themselves, it is advisable to purchase a new Apple Certified charger or a new Apple manufactured charging adapter.

Apple, in August of 2013, became aware that some counterfeit chargers along with a few select brands of third party chargers designed for Apple products, could have been designed improperly, resulting in “Safety Issues”. Apple then began an extensive charger take-back program aimed at getting the dangerous power adapters out of the hands of their customers. Unfortunately in 2013, I was still using an Android and had not kept up on any iPhone related news. Again, lesson learned.

The situation almost scared me to death. I have three small children who would not have been able to make it out of my house had my bedroom become engulfed in flames with my wife and me inside. So here I am, doing the only thing I can think of and sharing this information. If you have an Apple Certified Charger that is manufactured by a third party company, I would suggest either replace it with an Apple charger or charge your phone where you can keep a hawk’s eye on it. If your charging cord for your Apple product has begun to fray and split…that’s a good sign it should be replaced.

From what I understand with the millions of iPhones in use every day, this is a rare occurrence. I guess I was just extremely lucky that it hadn’t burned all the way through the paper. Similar incidents I learned of through my researching of this did not end up so lucky. I am thankful, believe me.

In one incident I found that a father told the media how his daughter’s iPad charger exploded in his hand giving him a massive electric shock. He said he was thrown across the room and left with blackened fingers when he reached down to unplug the device. He believes his eight-year-old daughter would have been killed had she touched it.

In another incident, a woman from China was killed by a counterfeit charger after answering her iPhone while it was charging. An electric shock was blamed for her death. These are just two of the plethora of incidents I located that are related to counterfeit or third party chargers.

Due to the complexity of testing required to detect an unsafe or counterfeit adapter, Apple says that they cannot advise you on the authenticity or safety of your adapter. Your best bet is to buy a new one or keep a close watch while your iDevice is charging. I wanted to share my experience with you in the hopes that your reading this might save someone’s home from burning, save a loved one from dying, being shocked, or just someone being scared to death in the first few seconds of today’s consciousness. I hope you found it useful and please spread the knowledge. One can only assume that if I ended up with a third-party or counterfeit charger, then others in Hot Springs and surrounding areas may have as well. So be aware they pose a risk of electrical shock, fire, and in some very rare cases, explosion.

Below are some photos I took of my iPhone and it’s charger.

Thanks for reading!