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“I could be dead.”

Those were the words of Dorthiea Preston, a seventy-two-year-old resident of Lorain, Ohio. Preston claims her Samsung Gusto 3 cell phone exploded in her pocket on April 22.

“It was a real loud bang,” she told Fox 8 News in Cleveland. “I mean loud. I was terrified; I mean I was hoping I wasn’t going to catch fire.”

Preston explained that she was sitting in her apartment when the phone exploded, leaving melted holes in her pants.

A handicapped woman, Preston alleges smoke filled her living room while she attempted to remove the phone from her pocket. She says the explosion melted her phone and left the battery “bloated.”

Preston believes she could have been seriously injured, and is grateful she wasn’t holding the phone to her eat at the time of the incident.

According to Preston, she purchased the Samsung cell phone at Walmart on March 24. Though Samsung has had recent problems with melting cell phones (namely in the Note 7), the Gusto 3 was never recalled.

This story raises concerns about manufacturing and design processes at Samsung. What other defects exist, and what other injuries could arise because of them?

Samsung made the following statement to Fox 8 News regarding the Gusto 3 explosion:

“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.”

The company then asked customers with questions or concerns with a Samsung product to call 1-800-SAMSUNG.

Preston wants to see the Gusto 3 removed from the market altogether – in addition to posted warnings from Samsung about the dangers of using the phone.

Why do cell phones explode and what can you do to protect yourself?

According to WRDW News, recent device explosions have all had one thing in common – Lithium-Ion Batteries.  TechAdvisor explains that a number of factors can cause these batteries to explode. Sometimes, the situation is isolated. Other times, the flaw is encased in the design of the product.

Samsung and Apple have focused on making Lithium-Ion Batteries smaller without compensating battery life. This can lead to fast charging and updated processors, which can also lead to more heat generation.

To protect yourself, take advantage of the following recommendations:

(1) Only use the charger that came with your phone. Do not use off-brand chargers or batteries.

(2) Unplug your phone once it becomes fully charged.

(3) Remove protective cases while charging your phone.

(4) Never leave your phone in direct sunlight.

(5) If your phone overheats, turn it off and let it cool down. Never put your phone in the fridge or freezer.

(6) Put as little pressure on the phone as possible.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be protected from dangerous device explosions.  Unfortunately, this won’t be true for everyone else.

Cell phone designers must place a higher emphasis on the safety of customers everywhere. It will be interesting to see how Samsung responds to future accidents.

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