iPod, iPod, Pants on Fire

Talk about lighting a fire under your behind. An Atlanta TV news outlet reported over the weekend that a man working at the city's international airport was shaken up when his iPod Nano caught fire in his pants. According to station WSB, airport employee Danny Williams didn't realize anything was amiss until he saw flames lapping up at him.

"So I look down and I see flames coming up to my chest," Williams told a reporter. "I'm still kind of freaked out that after only a year and a half my iPod caught fire in my pocket."

Williams, of Douglasville, Ga., said he was lucky that a glossy piece of paper in his pocket separated the faulty music player from his skin when the overheated device set his clothing ablaze. Williams was not injured in the incident, which seems to have been caused by a defective lithium-ion battery. Reports of Li-ion batteries erupting in flames have been reported widely over the last few years (see "Bad, Bad Batteries from our August 2006 issue).

Williams, who works at an airport kiosk, told WSB that he was also lucky that airport security personnel were not in the vicinity when the accident happened. "If TSA had come by and seen me smoking, they could have honestly thought I was a terrorist," Williams commented.

Naturally, his mother took a disapproving view of the entire affair. "It could have happened when we were sleeping, it could have happened when he was driving and the outcome could have been much worse," Elaine Williams told the station.

Apple refused to comment on the incident, according to WSB. The station reports, however, that Apple has agreed to exchange the damaged Nano for a new model at no extra charge. Apparently, though, it did not discuss the matter of Williams' burned pants.

That's corporate citizenship.

Advertisement

Tech Talk

IEEE Spectrum’s general technology blog, featuring news, analysis, and opinions about engineering, consumer electronics, and technology and society, from the editorial staff and freelance contributors.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for the Tech Alert newsletter and receive ground-breaking technology and science news from IEEE Spectrum every Thursday.

Advertisement