Some people might think that Samsung‘s flagships are hot, though a 13-year old girl from Texas probably didn’t want that to be literal. And yet that is unfortunately how things are when Ariel Tolfree was woken in the middle of the night to the smell of the burning Galaxy S 4, which happened to be stowed snug and warm under her pillow.

The case starts out innocently enough. Given how teens incessantly message each other, post on social networks, or browse the Internet even in the late of night, it is quite convenient to just tuck the thing under your head to avoid having to fumble around reaching for a nightstand beside the bed. Unfortunately, that might have indeed been the cause of this unfortunate, but almost foreseeable incident. We’ve seen smartphones survive fires and even lawnmowers but this is not one case that had a happy ending. The resulting glob of plastic is almost unrecognizable as the glorious Samsung flagship that it once was. Thomas, Ariel’s dad, believed that the phone overheated, causing the battery to swell and start a mini fire. He immediately contacted Samsung to report the incident and then, of course, contacted the media.

Samsung’s response is both typical PR and, at the same time, common sense. According to the company spokesperson, the battery, which is being blamed for the accident isn’t a certified original Samsung battery. Of course, we’ve heard about cases where using replacement units are blamed by manufacturers, and yet people still flock to these because of the sometimes prohibitive price of original accessories. One other thing that Samsung points out is that, of course, there is a chance the device will overheat if kept under a pillow, mattress, or even thick clothing that will restrict the flow of air from cooling down the smartphone. In fact, this scenario is so predictable that Samsung even includes a warning inside its manual. But then again, who reads user manuals, printed or digital, these days anyway?

Thomas says that Samsung, and perhaps other manufacturers as well, should put those warnings where they can easily seen, perhaps on boxes, like in cigarette packaging. But given how many of these environmental warnings there are inside manuals, we might very well end up with boxes covered in nothing but warnings. Samsung, fortunately, takes such incidents seriously and will launch an investigation on the dearly departed smartphone so ascertain the true cause of the fire. They will also fortunately be replacing the burned pillow and bedding as well.


  • dontsh00tmesanta

    Sounds like an eBay battery

  • Emmanuel Lopez

    Tooth fairy was probably pissed that there was no teeth under your pillow, so she set your phone on fire to make an example. That’s your fault for playing her like that, just isn’t right…

  • Tan Han Han

    Mine did the same. But only after accepting the mission and this message appear ‘As always, should you or any of your I.M. Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This device will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Han’

  • Kyleigh

    Mine did the same thing but it was only 2 months old and I had to get a new one because before it completely over heated it melted all my chargers I was using and Verizon keeps looking at me like I’m crazy but this phone has given me nothing but problems

  • Gary Demirdjian

    Ha! I knew that melted plastic slab was an S4!

    In a related story, Swedes and anyone above the Artic Circle love the S4’s cozy warmth. ^_^

  • James Burkett

    I can start to this, I left a Samsung smartphone under a pillow by accident and it got really hour. It was either a S3 or a S4. Can’t remember which but I remember thinking that it was unusually hot. But at least when I picked it up, I could make a phone call no matter how I held it.