23 January 2019
A man the US has claimed that his iPhone 6 bent and caught fire in his pants, in what the media has dubbed as 'Burngate'.
A man the US has claimed that his iPhone 6 bent and caught fire in his pants, in what the media has dubbed as 'Burngate'.

Apple’s new ‘Burngate’ headache

Given the intense buzz that surrounds any new offering from Apple, it is only natural that product launches are often followed by customer complaints about shortcomings — real or imaginary — in the products.

The iPhone4, for instance, was criticized for its poor antenna after it was released in the market in 2010. The iPad has, from time to time, come in for caustic comments over the quality of its camera.

As for the iPhone 6, which was launched last month, video clips have surfaced of the larger screen Plus model getting bent if subjected to high stress. After the so-called bendgate complaints, we now have a person who claims that his iPhone bent and actually caught fire in his pants.

In a blog post, a man has written that his iPhone 6 caught fire in his pocket following a minor pedicab accident in Tucson, Arizona, on the weekend of Oct. 11. The device burned through his jeans and left first- and second-degree burns on his leg, Phillip Lechter wrote, according to the Betabeat tech blog of the New York Observer.

The ordeal began when the pedicab in which Lechter and his family were riding lost its balance, and tipped over to the left. After checking to make sure his wife and son were okay, Lechter noticed something was off about his leg.

“I felt a burning sensation on my leg and then saw and smelled smoke from my pants,” he writes. “I surveyed the rickshaw quickly and could not find anything that could have set me on fire. Then it hit me, my phone was in my pocket.”

Lechter says he lay down to extract the iPhone from his pocket, and threw it aside. “The smell was disturbing,” he writes. “I could feel my leg burning.”

A bystander threw some water to put the fire out on his jeans, while another passerby poured ice water over the phone, according to the Betabeat account.

“My Apple iPhone 6 burned through my jeans pocket, through my boxers and significantly burned my leg. In the process of removing the phone from my pocket I also burnt my hip,” Lechter summed up.

To back up his claims, he attached photos of his burned leg and hip at the end of his blog post.

Now, what might have caused the fire? According to some tech experts, the iPhone 6 may have burst into flame due to a punctured battery. 

Freak accidents involving electronic gadgets, it must be said, are not unheard of. There have been quite a few instances of mobile phones and laptops unexpectedly bursting into flames.

Apple has not yet commented on the latest incident. The company would most probably treat the accident as an isolated case that stemmed from an unusual situation.

But in the meanwhile, it is already facing up to a new hashtag on social media — #burngate.

Who said life was easy for the US tech giant?

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