Student's iPhone explodes in his back pocket, catches fire during class

ByKatherine Scott and Katherine Scott WPVI logo
Saturday, October 1, 2016
VIDEO: Rowan exploding cell phone
It was a scary scenario for one student at Rowan College at Burlington County when his cellphone started smoking in his pocket during class .

MT. LAUREL, N.J. -- It was a scary scenario for Darin Hlavaty, a student at Rowan College in Burlington County, after he said his iPhone 6 Plus exploded in his back pocket, burning a hole in his jeans.

"I felt this crazy, hot burning in my leg," said Hlavaty.

Hlavaty had just been reaching for a pen in his 9:30 a.m. physical science class.

"Right as class was starting, my phone started smoking in my pocket. It was a fire," said Hlavaty.

"Out of nowhere, we heard a fizzing and a popping sound. Suddenly, a great mass of smoke comes out from his pocket," said Rebecca Bookbinder, a student.

Bookbinder had been sitting nearby.

"Everyone was kind of like, 'What is that? What is that? And then we all realized that's his phone that combusted in the middle of class," said Bookbinder.

"It was super hot so I flinched, grabbed it, threw it on the ground - had to kick it because it was on fire," said Hlavaty.

A school spokesperson confirmed a teacher called public safety for a report of a burning phone around 9:45 a.m.

A spokesperson from the college said when public safety arrived, the fire was already out, but they could still smell the smoke. The students were moved to a different classroom for the rest of the period.

Recently, Samsung recalled its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after finding some batteries had exploded or caught fire. Apple said it can't comment at this time, but will investigate the claim as customer safety is of the utmost importance.

Hlavaty said the phone battery was dead and it was not plugged in.

"I've had it for about six months. The only thing that was wrong with it was a simple crack, but I don't see a simple crack causing it to blow up in my pocket," said Hlavaty.

As for Bookbinder, she said her classmate is lucky he wasn't hurt.

"If you were on a phone call, had been sitting on your bed near a stack of papers, it could do a lot more damage than just burning a hole in your pocket," she said. "He's very fortunate."