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Galaxy Note 9 catches fire inside a woman’s purse

Published Sep 17th, 2018 7:45AM EDT
Galaxy Note 9 Battery
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Since the infamous Galaxy Note 7 recall two years ago, a phone Samsung pretends it never existed, we didn’t have any battery incidents involving Samsung handsets. Samsung revised its quality assurance process for batteries after the recall, reassuring customers that battery fires will be a thing of the past. Most recently, Samsung Mobile chief DJ Koh told reporters that the Galaxy Note 9’s battery is safe. But it had to happen sooner or later. A Samsung phone supposedly caught fire inside a woman’s purse, and it happened to be the brand new Galaxy Note 9.

The woman, real estate agent Diane Chung, already sued Samsung, according to the NYPost. The phone “became extremely hot” on September 3rd, while Chung was in an elevator, court documents show. She placed the handset in her bag, and then “she heard a whistling and screeching sound, and she noticed thick smoke” from her purse.

She put the bag on the elevator floor and tried to empty it, burning her fingers in the processes. “Extremely panicked,” Chung started smashing elevator buttons, as the thick smoke made it hard to see.

Once in the lobby, she kicked the phone out of the elevator, at which point someone else grabbed it with a cloth and placed it in a bucket of water.

Chung says that the fire left her unable to contact clients and ruined everything in her bag. She said the experience was “traumatic,” and that Samsung should have known the phone was “defective.” She wants damages from Samsung and a restraining order barring Note 9 sales.

Samsung is investigating the matter and says the Note 9 fire is an isolated incident. “We have not received any reports of similar incidents involving a Galaxy Note9 device and we are investigating the matter,” a Samsung spokesman said.

While the incident is unfortunate, we’ll remind you that there’s always a theoretical risk for any battery-powered electronic device to experience battery issues including fires or battery swelling. Most times when a phone battery explodes it’s due to impact damage, though it’s not yet known if that’s the case here. Either way, this doesn’t mean the Galaxy Note 9 is faulty in any way, and we haven’t seen any other Note 9 fire reports for the time being. But, considering that it’s a Note 9 phone, it certainly doesn’t look good for Samsung.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.