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Samsung stayed silent after ‘safe’ Galaxy Note 7 exploded and sent a man to the ER

Published Oct 9th, 2016 10:20AM EDT
Samsung Note 7 Recall
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Samsung is being accused of staying silent after it was made aware of yet another incident involving a newer Galaxy Note 7 handset that was issued to a Kentucky man as a replacement.

It seems as though each time we think Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 debacle can’t get any worse, things do in fact get worse. Much, much worse. This time around, a “safe” Galaxy Note 7 that was given to Michael Klering of Nicholasville, Kentucky as a replacement for his potentially faulty device supposedly caught fire. Unfortunately, if Klering’s accusations are indeed true, the fire wasn’t even the worst part.

DON’T MISS: Note 7 fallout: Survey says 34% of current customers won’t buy another Samsung phone

Klering told local news station WKYT that he was asleep in the middle of the night when he woke to find his bedroom filled with smoke. His Galaxy Note 7, which is a newer model that had been issued to him as a replacement as part of Samsung’s global recall, had exploded and was on fire, spilling smoke out into the room.

“I was scared to death for a minute,” Klering said in an interview with WKYT. “The whole room just covered in smoke, smells awful. I look over and my phone is on fire.”

The man ended up extinguishing the fire before it caused too much damage, but he had to go to the emergency room later that day to be treated for acute bronchitis caused by smoke inhalation. He says he was vomiting up a black substance at one point before he ultimately decided to go to the hospital.

According to Klering, the phone wasn’t even plugged in and charging at the time it combusted. “The phone is supposed to be the replacement, so you would have thought it would be safe,” Klering said. “It wasn’t plugged in. It wasn’t anything, it was just sitting there.”

Unfortunately, the worst was still to come.

This incident happened on Tuesday last week, according to Klering, and he made contact with Samsung soon after. Samsung representatives asked the man if they could take possession of the phone in order to conduct an investigation and he refused, though he did let Samsung pay to have the damaged phone x-rayed for analysis. He says he was happy to work with Samsung as the company investigated the incident, but then he allegedly received a text message from a Samsung representative that wasn’t intended for his eyes.

“Just now got this,” the message said. “I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter, or we just let him do what he keeps threatening to do and see if he does it.”

Klering says at that point he decided to take matters into his own hands and contact WKYT. “It made me think you know they’re not taking this serious enough and it’s time to move on,” he noted. Klering said he is concerned that these replacement Note 7 handsets are “in kid’s pockets, people’s cars, all kinds of things,” and he believes that Samsung should recall all Note 7 phones, old and new.

The incident in Kentucky is the third alleged occurrence of a “safe” replacement Note 7 exploding. The first reported incident took place aboard a Southwest airplane that had to be evacuated when the phone began smoking in the cabin, and the second replacement Note 7 fire caused an injury to a 13-year-old girl.

BGR on Thursday published an opinion piece recommending that no one under any circumstances should purchase a Galaxy Note 7. In light of these new reports, we have no choice but to take things one step further: if you own an early model or even a replacement Note 7, you should return it immediately. All four major wireless carriers in the US are now accepting Galaxy Note 7 returns regardless of when the handsets were purchased or received as replacements. For their own safety and the safety of people around them, we recommend that all Galaxy Note 7 owners take advantage of these policies and return their phones immediately.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.

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