Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A smartphone’s battery caught fire in the cabin of an Alaska Airlines flight after the plane landed in Seattle. The phone is “burned beyond recognition,” according to Perry Cooper, a spokesperson for the Port of Seattle, though its owner claims that it was once a Samsung Galaxy A21.
As reported by The Seattle Times, the Alaska Airlines Flight 751 crew used a fire extinguisher and battery containment bag to stop the fire. Still, it produced so much smoke that the flight’s passengers had to escape through evacuation slides.
Earlier this evening, POSFD responded to a report of a fire in the cargo hold of Alaska Airlines Flight 751. Upon arrival, the fire was contained and passengers and crew were evacuated from the aircraft. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/rY2cFgrmUH
— Seattle-Tacoma Intl. Airport (@flySEA) August 24, 2021
A passenger on the flight, Maddy Harrison, compared the fire to a “smoke machine” in a Twitter post. They also suggest that someone sitting near the fire sustained “minor injuries,” which makes sense, as lithium-ion battery fires are often quite violent (and very, very smokey).
While the blazing phone’s owner claims that a Galaxy A21 was to blame, this has not been confirmed by law enforcement, the Port of Seattle, Alaska Airlines, or Samsung. The phone is simply too damaged to properly identify. Samsung has not commented on the incident.
Why do smartphones catch fire? Well, damaged or poorly manufactured batteries are almost always to blame. Your phone probably won’t catch fire, but there are a few steps you can take to mitigate the risk.