One Hospitalized After Phone Explodes at School

( – The Fire Department was called to investigate after a cell phone exploded inside a bathroom at Roosevelt High School in Washington, D.C. The explosion happened around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 29th. One student was injured and transported to a local hospital. D.C. Fire and EMS later reported the student’s injuries were minor.

No information has been provided by officials about what type of cell phone was involved in the explosion.

D.C. Fire investigators believe the explosion was caused by the phone’s lithium-ion battery failing. Investigators will keep working to determine the exact cause.

According to an article in PCMag from September 2023, smartphones are unlikely to explode but “it happens.” Cell phones are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which are sensitive to heat and damage. If the battery overheats, a chain reaction can occur called “thermal runaway”. This reaction greatly increases the risk of fire or explosion.

Phones can overheat for multiple reasons including physical damage, leaving the phone out in the sun, using an incorrect charging cable, unknown physical defects in the battery and hardware, or shoddy manufacturing. Warning signs of a potential explosion may include hissing or popping sounds coming from the phone, a burning smell, or a swollen battery.

There are preventative measures that can be taken. Buy a case for your phone that protects the battery from damage if the phone is dropped. Avoid leaving the phone in extreme hot or cold temperatures. Keep the phone uncovered while charging and don’t charge the phone in. Don’t overcharge your phone, keep the battery range between 30-80%. Don’t fast charge overnight. Use the correct charger for your phone. Don’t use damaged cables. Protect your phone from malware. Don’t use third-party suppliers or parts to make repairs to your phone.

The D.C. Fire Department posted several tips on phone battery safety in a post on the social media platform X following the incident at the school.

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