Lorain woman's Samsung cell phone explodes and sets fire to her pocket

Posted at 6:08 AM, Apr 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-24 16:54:09-04

A Lorain woman said her Samsung cell phone “exploded” in her pocket, setting fire to her pants and pressing melted plastic against her leg. 

Receipts show Dorthiea Preston, 72,  bought the Samsung Gusto 3 phone on March 24 from a Medina Walmart. 

The phone was not included in last year's recall of more than 2.5 million Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones. 

Preston said she was sitting in a chair Saturday afternoon when she heard a loud bang. 

“Like a bomb,” she said. 

News 5 received a statement from Samsung at about 4:30 p.m. on Monday:

"We stand behind the quality and safety of the many Gusto 3 phones in the U.S., and there are no known issues with these devices. We have reached out to Ms. Preston to learn more about what happened and offer our support. Mobile phones are complex devices and there are many factors that could contribute to their malfunction. Until we examine the device it is impossible to tie this to overheating. Any customer who has questions or experiences an issue with a Samsung product should contact us directly at 1-800-SAMSUNG."

She felt something burning against her leg as smoke filled her living room. Preston, who has difficulty walking, said she struggled to make it to the sink to put out the burning plastic that was pressing against her leg. 

“It was terrifying,” said Preston, who also said she was lucky that her burns were minor. 

Preston said she has only ever used the charger that came with the phone. 

When she reached out to Walmart about the incident, she was told that her warranty had expired. 

Preston said she’d heard about the fire issues with the Galaxy Note 7, but thought her model was safe. 

“That’s when I starting thinking boy, somebody needs to know about this,” she said. 

In September, News 5 spoke to a Painesville woman whose Samsung S-7 Edge also caught fire, burning her mattress and nightstand. Luckily, she was not sleeping at the time. 

Preston said she’s spent the last two days trying to report the problem to Samsung but has had trouble getting through.