Wednesday, September 13, 2017

iPhone 7 fire at Westland Middle School

From: Alison Serino <>
Date: Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 1:26 PM
Subject: A bit more info regarding our evacuation today

As a follow up to my previous communication about our evacuation I want to share an update.

A student removed his cell phone from his pocket while in the locker room with the intent of storing it in his locker. (Totally appropriate by the way according to our cell phone policy! ) He noticed it was on fire and a teacher instructed him to drop it.  Teachers radioed to the office for support and we activated the nearest fire alarm pull station to signal an evacuation.

The phone was an iPhone 7 and had an external apple battery charger in a case affixed to the back. 

Ms. Winick, PTA president, asked for me to address some questions that could be helpful to parents including...
1) Precautions to take when using battery packs
2) Top fire safety risks from cell phones according to MCFRS
3) Any warnings pre-fire
4) What students should do if a fire starts

Midday today I consulted with Ms. Mary Whalen, cluster security coordinator for BCC cluster schools.  She and I contacted Montgomery County Fire and Rescue and collaborated with Peter Park, team leader in MCPS systemwide safety programs.  While I do not have exact responses to #1 and #2, the best resources we can offer are from  the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on cell phone battery safety were a and a Consumer Reports article from Sept 2016 both linked below. 

Regarding question #3--any warnings pre-fire--the student reported nothing abnormal about his phone prior to removing it from his pocket.

Regarding question #4, if a student sees a fire s/he should report it immediately to the nearest adult or pull the nearest fire alarm box, lifting the clear plastic box and pulling down on the red pull station.  Then evacuate the area and report the location of the danger to the nearest adult.

Again, I am grateful for our students' and staff members' response today and to our fire/rescue partners.

Info from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on cell phone battery safety at:
     Why Lithium-Ion Batteries Still Explode - Consumer Reports
As replacements to the recalled Samsung Galaxy Note7 arrive in stores, Consumer Reports investigates what's next in safety for lithium-ion batteries.

Alison L. Serino

No comments:

Post a Comment

If your comment does not appear in 24 hours, please send your comment directly to our e-mail address:
parentscoalitionmc AT