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Exploding phone gives midnight fright

Published: 7:52PM Wednesday November 28, 2007 Source: ONE News

Nokia has launched a full investigation into what is believed to be New Zealand's first case of a cellphone battery explosion.

Auckland man Norman Sievewright woke to a loud bang in the middle of the night and found his phone, which had been charging next to his bed, had exploded.

"Huge fright. It was very scary... especially with the fumes," says Sievewright.

The phone was in pieces and the carpet was singed with imprints of the battery.

"The battery flew out and then maybe there was a secondary little explosion of some sort and it bounced I guess...that's my suspicion that it just jumped with the force of an explosion," says Sievewright.

Consumers' Institute chief executive Sue Chetwin agrees that the incident is frightening.

"If he hadn't been around, you know, the problem could have been a lot worse, so it is a concern but there are millions of them out there. If people are worried take it into a Nokia shop and get them to have a look at it," she says.

In August, Nokia launched a global product advisory for bl-5c batteries made between December 2005 and last November. Around 100 out of 46 million worldwide have overheated or exploded so far.

Nokia issued a statement saying that until an investigation is complete it would be inappropriate to speculate on what caused the battery to explode in this case.

The company now has the remains of the phone and charger and plans to examine it as soon as possible.

"We're keeping an eye on it, they have put out that advisory and if we hear of any others we'd expect Nokia would have to do a recall," says Chetwin.

Until then any concerned cellphone owners are being urged to check their batteries.

South Korea death

Meanwhile, a police investigation is underway in South Korea after the death of a man amid reports he may have been killed by an exploding mobile phone battery.
The 33-year-old was found dead in a quarry where he worked. His shirt had soot marks in the shape of a phone. 
The phone maker, LG, has issued a statement saying the handset thought to be involved in the South Korean incident, is manufactured and sold only in Korea.