Apparently cell phones can catch on fire! The Hackettstown Police, Hackettstown Fire Department, and Hackettstown EMS responded to reports of a fire at Hackettstown Medical Center; the fire, which had been extinguished by the time the emergency responders arrived, had been started by a cell phone which then melted a charging tower, police said.

What Hackettstown Police called a “smoke event” took place on the third floor, but no one was injured. The lithium ion batteries that power most cell phones (and laptops) have been known to start fires. According to an article in USA Today from last year, 65% of waste facility fires in California in 2018 were caused by lithium ion batteries.

Cell Phone Fire
Photo: Hackettstown Police Department

When a lithium ion battery catches fire it can ignite other nearby batteries, causing them to explode; a lithium ion battery caused a five alarm fire in Queens at a recycling facility. The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association recommends you contact your wireless carrier or retailer to properly dispose of/recycle your phone.

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