Samsung Phone 'Bursts into Flames' While Woman Driving, Destroying Car

Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S8
Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S8 smartphone is displayed during a media event in Seoul, South Korea, April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Samsung has said it is "eager to conduct a full investigation" after a Detroit woman claimed her life was put in danger when her phone burst into flames while she was driving.

The victim, who has requested to keep her identity private, said that two smartphones—a Galaxy S4 and a Galaxy S8—were in her vehicle's cup-holder at the time of the May 21 incident. The woman said she was forced to pull over and quickly abandon her Nissan Maxima as it became engulfed in flames. Images of the aftermath of the fire were obtained by local news outlet WXYZ, an ABC affiliate.

"Out of the corner of my eye I saw a spark," she told WXYZ, adding: "I thought I was going to die when I saw the sparks and the fire. It happened quick. It just went up in flames. People were telling me to get away from the car. What if I was on the highway stuck in traffic and couldn't get out?"

According to WXYZ, which verified the origin of the blaze was a cellphone via Detroit Fire Department records, the woman is currently mulling over legal action against the South Korea-headquartered technology company, but no filing has yet been made. The victim's lawyer, named as attorney Gerald Thurswell, told the news outlet his client was having trouble sleeping following the incident.

"We've contacted Samsung and they have been very responsible," Thurswell said.

"They sent a crew to examine the car and… engineers to examine what we believe to be portions of the phone. Once it's determined which of the phones [it was] and that one is recalled, we'll probably save lives."

A Samsung spokesperson said: "While we don't comment on pending litigation, we stand behind the quality and safety of the millions of Samsung phones in the U.S. We are eager to conduct a full investigation of this matter and until we are able to examine all of the evidence, it is impossible to determine the true cause of any incident." It did not respond to an additional request for comment.

Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S8
Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S8 smartphone is displayed during a media event in Seoul, South Korea, April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Last year, the company was forced to issue a full recall of its Galaxy Note 7 device range in the wake of numerous reports that the smartphone was catching fire and, in some cases, exploding.

The claims, which first emerged around August 2016, eventually led to the phones being banned on commercial flights by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Multiple agencies warned that any passengers who brought the device on-board could cause a "catastrophic incident" and, if caught, would face criminal prosecution and fines.

Following a probe, Samsung blamed the issue on batteries that were "unique to the Note7 devices." The Samsung Galaxy S4 and a Galaxy S8 named by the Detroit woman were not on a recall list.

It remains unclear which device is alleged to have caused the initial spark.

In July 2015, according to U.K. newspaper The Mirror, a Samsung phone belonging to a 57-year-old man caught fire while it was charging overnight. In July the year prior, Fox4 reported that a 13-year-girl from Texas had faced a similar shock, when her Galaxy S4 caught fire and "melted" after falling under her pillow. At the time, Samsung blamed the issue on a replacement battery that was in the device.

Samsung
Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S8 smartphones are displayed during a media event at a company's building in Seoul, South Korea, April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Samsung Phone 'Bursts into Flames' While Woman Driving, Destroying Car | Tech & Science