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Samsung Galaxy S4 burns under pillow, third-party battery to blame


Texas resident Ariel Tolfree may have trouble sleeping for a while. The 13-year-old went to sleep with her white Galaxy S4 under a white pillow – and was awakened by a burning smell close by. The problem? Her Galaxy S4 was burning.

The Galaxy S4’s battery was so hot during the night that it swelled, then burned not only the Galaxy S4 and through the pillow under which it was placed, but also her mattress.

Tolfree’s family contacted Samsung, who’s taken a look at the smartphone to verify whether or not the parts were originally from Samsung. The team discovered that the battery inside of it was a counterfeit battery from a third party, not an original Samsung battery.

Still, despite the fact that the third-party battery is to blame in the case, Samsung has agreed to replace the Galaxy S4 as well as the mattress and the pillow.

There’re some things to ponder with cases such as Ariel Tolfree’s. First is the fact that the battery inside wasn’t an original Samsung part. Granted, it would still be disturbing (even if it was a Samsung part), but using third-party parts such as battery replacements isn’t recommended by Samsung. The company states within its phone manuals that using third-party parts could result in electric shock and distress – so it seems as though Tolfree and her family weren’t educated enough about Samsung policies and the company’s recommendations in its phone manual.

Galaxy-S4-after-being-burned-under-pillowNext, placing a tech gadget of any kind under a pillow and letting it sit for hours on end is dangerous in and of itself. Even placing iPads under a pillow (and letting them charge) has produced a hot screen that must sit in cool air before you can continue using the iPad. Place any gadget under a pillow (including charging ones) and it’s not hard to understand how a mobile device could burn and/or explode. Ariel Tolfree is only 13, so it’s understandable that she may not know the rules about electric burns and how easy electric shocks can arise.


We here at Inferse are glad to hear that Ariel is alive and alright and that the only damage done was to the Galaxy S4 and her pillow and mattress. At the same time, however, we want to use this report to warn our readers about the dangers and risks that come with using electronic gadgets. Any gadget using third-party parts such as adapters (for iPhones and iPads) as well as batteries (like Tolfree’s case) can lead to burns and fires. It is best to read the manual and heed the manual warnings before you use your product. It is often easier to just pull the phone out of the box and start using it (without reading the manual), but reading the manual just may save your life. Tolfree could’ve likely been a burn victim, but thank goodness only her pillow was instead.

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Last but not least, incidents such as these show the need to pay for phone protection plans. True, they do cost additional money each month, but they’ll be a life saver should you find yourself in the same position. Consumers often contact a company like Samsung when something goes wrong with their smartphone, but wireless carriers offer phone protection plans so that you don’t have to go through such headache when something happens. You may have to pay more money, but it’ll bring you some peace of mind should your device burn to a crisp – as Tolfree’s did.

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If you pay $10 a month for Verizon’s full phone protection plan, for instance, you can have next-day replacement on your device – no questions asked. We’ve got Verizon’s Total Mobile Protection Plan for the Galaxy S5 we reviewed some time ago, and Verizon’s agreed to replace it the next day, even if the Galaxy S5’s water resistance feature doesn’t work as advertised.

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We sure do hope that Tolfree and her family receive the new Galaxy S4 phone replacement along with the mattress and pillow that Samsung’s promised. At the same time, however, these incidences are always good wake-up calls for consumers. A world of wonder lies behind all the wonderful tech gadgets we use on a daily basis – but a world of danger lies behind them, too. The happy tech user learns how to inform himself or herself of the risks while enjoying them for all they’re worth.

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