back to article Galaxy S4 FIREBALL ATE MY HOUSE, claims Hong Kong man

According to Mr Du, he was playing a quick game of Love Machine on his Galaxy S4 when it exploded into flame, causing him to cast it onto the alarmingly flammable sofa and thus gutting his whole house. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt, both Du and his wife got out if their Hong Kong apartment with minor injuries as Xianguo …


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  1. Kubla Cant

    the blaze spread to his Merc too

    And the blazing Merc also caused severe damage to his LearJet and his yacht, which were both in the driveway.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Oh yes, I nearly forgot the Rembrandt on the wall as well...

      1. MrT

        "Not... Rodin!!!!" Life stinks...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No, not the priceless, fragile Ming Vase as well !!! And all his Furbys only identifiable through dental records!

  2. Brian Miller

    Automatically shut down the phone

    What's wrong with manufacturers putting a thermal sensor next to the battery, and shutting down the phone when the temperature rises? Presuming it isn't a fault like the the Sony lithium batteries that had a manufacturing defect where the battery would short out inside, shut down the stupid phone before it blows up.

    Or at least send the phones out with asbestos covers!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Automatically shut down the phone

      The problem is with the battery, not the phone. Lithium-ion batteries can suffer from thermal runaway, switching the phone off will have no effect. The batteries themselves are supposed to have circuitry in them that shuts them down when they detect the temperature is to high, but a faulty sensor or a cheap knock-off without a sensor means they can still end up in flames.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: smart phone


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: smart phone

          Re: smart phone


          Am I the only one who saw what you did there?

    2. JaitcH

      Re: Automatically shut down the phone

      DIDN'T work for BOEING - and they have money to burn as far as safety is concerned. See: <,0,150797.story >.

      Now, with Honeywell beacons catching fire (at Heathrow) Boeing is requiring all it's new designs be inspected for scorching. (717, Next-Generation 737, 747-400, 767 and 777s, etc)

      Th subliminal message is FLY AIRBUS!

  3. Natalie Gritpants

    It's a ground floor apartment from the photo's so that may explain the smoke damage to the Merc parked outside. But why on earth did he try to put out the fire with a foam filled sofa. He couldn't have made it worse if he'd used the contents of a petrol can to douse the flames.

    Here's one for the Reg research department: Is the average contents of a man's bladder enough to put out a flaming mobe?

    1. sam bo

      "Here's one for the Reg research department: Is the average contents of a man's bladder enough to put out a flaming mobe?"

      an electrolyte stream (urine) in direct contact with an electrical fire and the interior of human body could end in tears.

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Could end in tears...

        ...but likely won't. It's not a high voltage source, it's usually on fire because it's internally shorted so a circuit already exists, and with a DC battery a path to earth isn't sufficient to get the current flowing anyway.

        If it was still plugged in to a horribly malfunctioning AC adaptor there might be more trouble.

        A narrow stream of water breaks up fairly quickly, and the electrical resistance of even a continuous stream of urine isn't likely to be low enough for a significant current to flow.

        1. wowfood

          Re: Could end in tears...

          They actually tested this on mythbusters, with the story of the guy who killed himself by pissing on the third rail. It's damn near impossible, urine doesn't come out as a steady stream, more like lots and lots of droplets breaking up, not a solid enoug hconnection to send up a charge. They had to jack up the pressure to beyond horse levels of urine before they got any reaction, and part of that reaction was the dummy falling over from the power of its own mighty stream if I remember correctly.

        2. Oz

          Re: Could end in tears...

          Mythbusters have proven that current won't flow up a urine stream - because it's not a stream, but loads of droplets

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Could end in tears...

            Unlike small fish with deployable spikes

          2. Charles 9

            Re: Could end in tears...

            But then they did a corollary experiment. Instead of the third rail, they used an electric fence and found that it can be close enough to the business end to allow a shock. So basically peeing at point blank COULD do it, especially since urine usually has salts dissolved in it which act as electrolytes (making it more conductive).

  4. Gerard Krupa

    The best advice to give when your phone explodes?

    Mr Du, run run run. Mr Du, run run.


  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mr Do

    I always thought it was spelt with an "o" and had a video game named after him, something about eating apples.!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mr Do

      Hmmm, except I think the video game predates this incident. The arcade machine at work has this game.

      (Not that anyone plays it … Donkey Kong gets more attention.)

  6. Henry Minute


    @!spartacus that weren't no Rembrandt, that was a DuVinci.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "but the investigations cost money and there will always be some people calling cover-up and conspiracy: another reason for manufacturers to solder their batteries into place."

    Actually, that's a case AGAINST soldering the battery. At least here it's a case of Samsung just LOOKING like the culprit. If the battery had been soldered and THEN went up, that' would pretty much remove all doubt. Cue lawsuits.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not necessarily

      If the batteries were soldered in, its possible there might be places springing up on the net where you could fedex your phone and get it shipped back in a couple days with a new battery in place, for those who have a phone a few years old which is starting to have serious reductions in battery life.

      At any rate, even if it was a genuine Samsung battery, unless they made the battery themselves (which they may have, since they make a lot of stuff) it could also be the battery vendor to blame if they had a bad batch of batteries or were cutting corners in production to save money and weren't shipping batteries that met the agreed upon quality requirements.

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  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe removable batteries are not so great after all?

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Maybe removable batteries are not so great after all?

      Actually, they're great from a culpability point of view. Notice how the almost immediate conclusion was that the battery wasn't an original one, and I would be surprised if the investigation is focused on proving it was a Samsung battery rather than proving it definitely was not.

      In the case of closed phones it gets a lot harder as a manufacturer to walk away from such problem. So, great for the supplier, not so great for the consumer who actually has few means to verify authenticity but who gets to live with the problems if they are sold a replica and it causes problems.

      Not sure how that one can be solved, to be honest. You'll only find out afterwards..

    2. Intractable Potsherd

      A consumer electrical device without a removable battery is worthless. No changeable battery (and/or no SD card slot) and I don't buy the phone. I only just tolerate no changeable battery on my e-reader because it is not likely to affect my life desperately).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did Mr. Du actually buy this phone or did Apple which made some "modifications" to it? The same could be said for some of the iPhones that have caught fire as well. Maybe they are taking the fight from the court room to the house? Nothing like some bad publicity to hurt the sales of your competitor.

  11. Arthur 1

    Bigger Than an Electrocution

    That Samsung, always having to out-do Apple.

  12. JaitcH

    Next time buy ...

    flame retardant furniture. Unprotected furniture may be cheaper but the cost is far less than the loss of a life,

    Many older apartments in HongKong have 'gates' on the entrances and bars on the windows. These are great for keeping break and enter artists out but terrible in emergencies.

    This applies to many, many countries in the Far East where builders supply a so-so quality lock for the door AND a sliding-grill / gate for added protection. These are secured with padlocks.

    Better still, make sure your household furniture has fireproofing - even required by some governments out here.

    And make sure barred windows have quick release devices on the inside!

  13. Colin Ritchie

    I hope he gets his payout.

    If enough spurious claims get paid out for dubious battery fires the manufacturers might actually design a safe one. I'm not asking for built in meltdown sensors and halon dispensers just a battery that won't go nuclear in yer pocket or while on charge.

    1. Charles 9

      Re: I hope he gets his payout.

      That's a "hard" problem with battery engineering. It mainly has to do with the highly reactive nature of metallic lithium. Basically, you can't even expose metallic lithium to the AIR safely unless you're certain it's very, VERY dry (I'm sure we can recall just HOW reactive this stuff is to water, even in vapor form).

  14. Nuke

    A game of *Love Machine* ??! WTF ?? That set my imagination running.

    Does this leave Mr Du as a living candidate for a Darwin award?

  15. Smilliamps


    Love Machine? LOL I love it... If his house burnt down because of a little battery I wonder what my extended life battery would do if it blew up? lmao.. look at this battery, would be huge:

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