Another replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has caught fire, this one in Houston, Texas. Daniel Franks was at lunch with his daughter and wife when their replacement caught fire while sitting on the table, he told The Verge in an interview. It had been replaced at a Best Buy store in late September.
Franks said that his eight-year-old daughter regularly plays Minecraft on the phone and wondered what could have happened if she was holding it or it was in his pocket or sitting on a nightstand.
This is the (1, 2, 3, 4) fifth replacement Note 7 that has caught fire in the US in the past week that we know of. It seems likely that there are more. AT&T has stopped selling the phones entirely, while the US Consumer Product Safety Commission says it is "moving expeditiously" to investigate, though perhaps even that isn’t quickly enough.
For its part, Samsung has issued a statement saying it is investigating the fires, though it has yet to determine that a "product safety issue exists." It’s possible that Samsung is letting US regulators take the lead on the investigation after it was criticized for launching its initial recall of the Note 7 without going through the CPSC.
"We are working diligently with authorities and third party experts and will share findings when we have completed the investigation," said a Samsung spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. "Even though there are a limited number of reports, we want to reassure customers that we are taking every report seriously. If we determine a product safety issue exists, Samsung will take immediate steps approved by the CPSC to resolve the situation."
If you own a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 you should immediately stop using it and return it for a refund — all the major US carriers will exchange the phone, regardless of purchase date. We don’t know why Samsung hasn’t been more forthcoming about what’s going on with these replacement devices, but it doesn’t really matter. Until we get more information, the simplest explanation is the best one: the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is a fundamentally defective product and it should be pulled from the market without delay.