Woman Sues Samsung After Galaxy Note 9 Allegedly Burst Into Flames Inside Her Purse

Bryan BedderGetty Images

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 might not be so fireproof after all, as recent reports suggest that the device caught fire while inside a New York woman’s purse, destroying all of its contents in an experience the customer described as “traumatic.”

In a lawsuit filed by real estate agent Diane Chung in the Queens Supreme Court, the Long Island woman described an incident she claims took place on September 3 while she was alone in the elevator of a building in Bayside, Queens. According to the New York Post, Chung recalled that she placed her Galaxy Note 9 in her purse at that time, having noticed that the newly purchased device had become “extremely hot.” Moments later, she heard a “whistling and screeching sound” and saw that there was thick smoke emerging from the bag.

As further indicated in the lawsuit, Chung reacted by trying to empty the contents of her purse on the elevator floor. She then tried to pick up her Samsung Galaxy Note 9, supposedly burning her fingers in the process as smoke continued to fill the inside of the elevator, making it difficult for her to see. In a state of panic, Chung dropped the allegedly burning phone and began “smashing” the elevator’s buttons, kicking the device out of the elevator as she reached the lobby.

According to Chung, the phone only stopped burning when someone in the lobby grabbed the device with a cloth and placed it in a bucket of water. She claimed that the alleged fire destroyed everything that was in the purse, adding that she was unable to contact her real estate clients due to her “defective” Note 9. Her lawsuit is seeking an unspecified amount of money in damages, as well as a restraining order that would prevent Samsung from selling the Galaxy Note 9.

The incident Chung recalled in her lawsuit came close to two years after a spate of battery-related issues led to the discontinuation of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. A total of 2.5 million devices were included in the initial recall, which was then followed by a government-mandated U.S. recall two weeks later. The latter recall was required after it was found that there were close to 100 cases of Note 7 units catching fire in the U.S. alone, as noted by Wired.

While Samsung allowed owners of the recalled devices to swap their old units for newer, “safer” ones, reports of overheating and spontaneously combusting phones continued, with one incident supposedly taking place while the phone was powered off and unplugged inside an airplane. By October 2016, Samsung announced an expanded recall and officially halted production on the defective Note 7.

Prior to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9’s release in August, the company’s mobile head, D.J. Koh, assured consumers that the device’s battery is “safer than ever.” According to the New York Post, the company is reportedly investigating into the matter, though it has yet to be informed of similar cases of the Galaxy Note 9 catching fire.