A Rimbey teenager was badly burned after his iPhone 5c caught fire while he was sleeping on Monday.
Josh Schultz, 16, went to bed around 10:30 p.m. in his basement bedroom when he woke up screaming around midnight.
“He was on fire,” said Carol Schultz, his mother, “He woke up because he was in pain and his bed was fire.”
Schultz said her son plugged his cellphone into the wall and placed it on the night stand beside his bed.
He suffered third-degree burns on his right leg and right hand and burns to other parts of his body.
The teenager’s screams alerted the rest of the family.
“We found his bed on fire and the flames going up the wall,” said Schultz. “We called 911. He grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to put it out while my husband was dousing the mattress with water.”
Schultz said they got the fire under control while she evacuated the house with her three other children and dog.
She said her family is still very shaken and her son does not want to sleep. The family is staying in a hotel while the house is being repaired.
“It sounds bad but it’s a good thing he was burned because if he had not been burnt he would have died from the smoke inhalation,” said Schultz. “The flames were going up the wall to his two little brothers’ bedroom.”
Schultz said her son has not had any problems with his iPhone which he has had for about a year. The charging cord was in good shape too.
“It just makes us scared to plug in our phones,” said Schultz. “How many people plug their phones in before they go to bed? Everybody so it is charged in the morning.”
Schultz wants people to learn from their frightening experience and to be more wary when plugging in devices and to charge them in a visible place.
The fire caused damage to the basement walls, the bed, mattress and night stand. Smoke spread throughout the entire home.
Rimbey fire chief John Weisgerber did not provide estimate to the damage but called it “minimal.”
“(The cellphone) got hot enough apparently to start on fire,” said Weisgerber.
Schultz and her husband both have iPhones and have not had any problems. She is unsure if they will buy another iPhone.
“We just don’t know,” she said. “Every time we plug in our phone, it’s a fear.”
Schultz said this could have happened with any device whether it was an Apple product or another cellphone maker.
Weisgerber said he has read about these incidents online but this was the first incident that he responded to in Rimbey.
“Cellphones should never be on the bed just like candles should never be on the bed,” said Weisgerber.
The fire remains under investigation.