A Polish cancer patient lost his life after his Apple iPhone burst into flames as a result of overheating, according to reports emerging in the European country’s media.
Marek Kruger, a 53-year old man suffering from cancer, was sleeping in his bed when his iPhone’s battery sparked and caused a major fire in his apartment, leaving Kruger with more than 60 percent burns on his body. The man succumbed to his injuries and was declared dead on arrival to the hospital, Metro reports.
The Apple iPhone was later described by Kruger’s wife as being the Polish man’s “lifeline” — considering he was incapacitated and depended on his iPhone for communicating with his family members in case of emergencies — adding a sense of irony to the terrible incident.
According to police reports, the man was sleeping in his bed when the fire broke out. He had been charging his Apple iPhone under his pillow, unaware that overheating could lead to a disaster.
A few minutes later, the Polish man’s son, Przemyslaw, who had been spending time with his friend in another flat in the same building, first smelled burning plastic and immediately rushed to where his father was sleeping. But by the time he reached his father’s bed, Przemyslaw was amazed to find fire crews already tending to the scene. His father’s iPhone had caused a major fire, causing his neighbors to raise an alarm and call in the firefighters, according to the Daily Mail.
A later inquest revealed that the fire was “slow,” and the man’s life could have been saved had he been able to walk. Unfortunately, however, Marek could not walk since a tumor was found in his brain a few years ago and was sleeping in a specialist hospital bed installed in his flat.
The Polish man’s wife, Iryna, said that Marek’s phone was his lifeline and that it was just tragic that something so important to him had become the cause of his death.
“He used to put the phone and wallet just under the pillow because he wanted to have his phone next to him.
“He felt unsafe sometimes when the girls [his nurses] had not been around and I was at work.”
Jonathan Fuguet, a consultant scientific adviser, told the coroner that the iPhone had caught fire because it was under a pillow while being charged. Such a step, he said, could cause the batteries to overheat and explode.
“The heat generated by the phone while charging could not dissipate because of the insulation – almost like putting it into a fire but much, much slower.”
The coroner agreed with Fuguet’s assessment, saying the Apple iPhone would not have burst into flames had the heat been allowed to escape.
“I am persuaded that in all likelihoods, had that iPhone been charged in an environment where the heat could have been dissipated as it charged, we would not have to be here,” he said.
This is not the first time that an Apple iPhone has burst into flames. Only last year, the internet was rife with reports of a Canadian teenager suffering third-degree burns after his charging iPhone caught fire while he was sleeping, in a case eerily reminiscent of Marek Kruger’s fate.
The tragic story of the Polish man falling victim to an overheating Apple iPhone should serve as a stern reminder to those who are not careful when using their phones or other gadgets. As comfortable as we might become with the gadgets around us, we should never forget that they are made to make our lives easier, not take them away.
[Photo via Shutterstock]