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Swiss Apple store evacuated after iPhone 6s Plus battery starts emitting smoke

By midian182 · 24 replies
Jan 10, 2018
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  1. Apple’s battery woes are continuing. Over in Zurich, Switzerland, one of the company’s many stores had to be evacuated after an iPhone 6s Plus battery overheated and starting emitting smoke.

    Zurich police report that a store worker—probably a member of the genius team—suffered minor burns when removing the overheating battery from the handset. All three emergency services attended the store, and six people received medical care at the site, though they were not seriously hurt and nobody required a hospital visit.

    A police statement said there was “a slight buildup of smoke, which led to around 50 customers and employees having to leave the business temporarily.”

    “The staff responded well and correctly,” said the police. “It sprinkled quartz sand over the overheated battery so that the smoke could be contained and sucked out after switching on the ventilation.”

    The store is already open and running normally once again. Both the iPhone and its battery are now being examined by the Zurich forensic institute to determine the cause of the overheating.

    Local media are reporting that the device was brought in to have its battery replaced. From laptops to hoverboards to the Note 7 disaster, there have been plenty of times when lithium-ions have dangerously overheated and caught fire these last few years, but thankfully for Apple, this appears to be an isolated incident.

    Last month, Apple admitted to releasing a feature that throttles performance in some of its older handsets to prevent unexpected shutdowns caused by, among other things, older batteries. The company has made its discounted battery replacement program available to all affected iPhones. Whether the iPhone 6s Plus in this instance was having its battery replaced because of the performance throttling issue is unclear.

    Middle image courtesy of 20min

    Permalink to story.

  2. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe Banned Posts: 837   +441

    Fake news hysteria for easily influenced, millennial types ...

    Two words:

  3. The Truth

    The Truth TS Rookie

    All Apple stores emit smoke.
    Burty117 likes this.
  4. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 871   +393

    I can't help but smirk at the level of extreme reactionary overkill.
  5. gusticles41

    gusticles41 TS Guru Posts: 405   +468

    I speculate the battery was punctured/tweaked during replacement, causing it to short and combust.

    Otherwise, incredibly ironic timing for a battery to just randomly cook.
    Kenrick likes this.
  6. J spot

    J spot TS Maniac Posts: 221   +141

    I clicked on this story because I thought it sounded ridiculous that a whole store was evacuated simply due to one phone catching fire. I still think it seems a little too much, but it was enough to leave a lingering smell and slight build up of smoke. So it's not all too unreasonable.
  7. Kenrick

    Kenrick TS Evangelist Posts: 630   +403

    Poke the wrong way.
  8. petert

    petert TS Evangelist Posts: 359   +157

    Actually it is a feature, all iphone batteries are made to emit smoke, helps when you are at the party, special effects and such ...
    darkzelda likes this.
  9. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 871   +393

    I could be too old to worry much, but had this happen to me or seen it happen, just would have grabbed a towel, wrap the battery with it, and take it to the wash room, then turn on fan. Seems easier to me and don't see why - even under the worst circumstance of being on fire - the apple staff didn't do that.
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,976   +4,010

    Wut? iMary wasn't there to stop the little iLambs from panicking?
  11. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 876   +372

    Wrap it in a towel? So know you have a battery venting a cell and you wrap it in a combustible towel? The employees did what they were supposed to do. They got people away and put sand over the cell to help control the reaction and absorb smoke, same training I had to do. This is why I charge my RC LiPo's in a old metal cooking pot filled with sand and I have another container of sand next to it, if I see one of the cells cooking I cut power and dump the sand and walk outside with it.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  12. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 871   +393

    yes, vs emptying the store. Like I said, I guess I am too old and practical.
  13. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 876   +372

    Having been around a LiPo and a decent sized LiOn packs when they blow I think emptying the store is justified, maybe a little to serious. But in our current lawsuit happy time I'm sure someone would try and sue for having respiratory problems for a few hours after being in the smoke.
    lostinlodos likes this.
  14. Badvok

    Badvok TS Maniac Posts: 296   +152

    A pity it hasn't ever happened to you, perhaps you'd have won a Darwin award!
  15. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 871   +393

    Yes, a Darwin reward to choose the most logical easy path to solve a problem. Are you sure you thought that "Darwin award" out? You actually just complimented me without realizing it. As you get older, you will get better and better at learning not to overreact out of fear and simply just not panic like a teenager without a clue. Like a girl who screams when they see a situation, accept it that the scream does nothing and only actions do. And it has happened in various forms, from batteries, to fires, to other emergency situations. Moral of the story that you seemed not to grasp: Don't over react.
  16. Badvok

    Badvok TS Maniac Posts: 296   +152

    A Darwin Award is given to those who successfully remove themselves from the gene pool, as you probably would have if you'd wrapped a 600C Li-ion battery fire in a towel.
    lostinlodos likes this.
  17. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 871   +393

    Without sounding condescending since I don't know if you are minor, let's try to focus on what I said. I was commenting on THIS situation of a battery that was smoking, This wasn't a fire, it was smoke. You can't change the narrative and put my comments on a different scenario. In this particular case, my asserted actions would have indeed been the best outcome for everyone. Aside from that, keep screaming and running like chicken little with your hands in the air if you wish, while people like me take care of your emergency. There is a difference between fear and panic. You can fear something and still act accordingly. Panic is what happens when people (possibly you?) act with fear + irrationality. Most people are the second type and there is nothing wrong with it.
  18. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 876   +372

    when LiIon or LiPo vent they vent chemical smoke, and a small amount of fire usually as well, if you catch the venting quick enough and take away the oxygen then you reduce the reactions intensity. Wrapping it in a towel at the temperature of the venting gases would have prob caused the towel to burn and would have insulated the heat of the battery as well.
    lostinlodos likes this.
  19. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 871   +393

    I do know that the towel "could" catch fire - hence going to the bathroom where there are either sinks/toilets/water. I do know that they vent chemical smoke and do know the towel would filter most of it until you made it to aforementioned bathroom. It is still what I would have done to help the locals not panic. But if people want to panic, hell, whom am I to stop them? Go for it I guess. :)
  20. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 876   +372

    Why are you assuming they panicked? I had to clear a restaurant once because of a fire, no one screamed and ran for the doors, was a calm walk out of the building. Also good luck putting water on that battery.
  21. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 871   +393

    lol, you don't follow along... think logically... do you think the water is for the battery? Or the towel and smoke? Reversely, why do you assume they didn't panic? The "evacuate" the whole store over a small battery seems to warrant the "panic" descriptor over reaction. Also, you are comparing a restaurant kitchen fire (with legal protocols) to a battery that happens to be smoking? lol... like I said, the masses of most humans are the "sky is falling" type variety. Continue on.
  22. lostinlodos

    lostinlodos TS Booster Posts: 142   +26

    Toss water on a lithium fire? The smoke is the reaction result with air. There’s already a fire. Water is the worst possible reaction to a lithium fire!
  23. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,976   +4,010

    Well, thrown in the toilet, the lithium wouldn't have any "air to react with", now would it?
    So, we throw the battery in the toilet, and flush it. If the plumbing burns up, who gives a sh!t? (Pun intended).

    The towel caught fire? No problem. Throw it in the sink, and turn the water on.

    By the way, smoke is always a product of reaction with air. I think it's the result of incomplete combustion.

    The lithium isn't in an elemental state, nor is it elemental phosphorus, which I believe ignites on contact with air, and violently at that.

    This nonsense reminds me of everyone who is panicked into getting rid of any CFL bulb in their house because of the danger of "mercury poisoning. I got big news for ya, they threw a lot more mercury laden waste into Minamata bay, than a six pack of light bulbs, to do the human damage they did.

    For now, let's just hope and pray that none of the ISheep got a run in their designer stockings bolting for the door.

    Let's face it, when you get that many head of Apple cattle together, sooner or later there's bound to be as stampede... :eek: :D

    The reality check: It's doubtful that there is enough caloric energy in a smart phone battery to ignite the Formica counter tops, or melt a glass display case. After all, a smart phone doesn't have as much combined energy as Mrs. O'Leery's cow, and a gasoline filled lantern.

    In case any of the millenial children didn't get the cow reference, here ya go: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_O'Leary
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  24. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 871   +393

    If you read the story, it says smoking. The water would be for the towel. You also may not know this but fire - any kind - needs air for fuel. If underwater, no fire.
  25. pencea

    pencea TS Maniac Posts: 171   +127

    Look who's talking.

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