Phone charger fire at local middle school offers safety reminder

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A phone charger fire recently led to an evacuation at Swift Creek Middle School.

8News reporter Tracey Smith talked to the fire department about precautions you should take with external batteries and the device that caused the fire.

A student at the school noticed that their backpack was getting warm.

Inside was a charger hot to the touch, and when they dropped it, it burst into flames.

Lieutenant Jason Elmore from Chesterfield described the scene.

“It ignited into flames and produced enough smoke in the school where ti set the fire alarm off,” Elmore said.

The Chesterfield Fire Department said that an Anker Powercore 10 Thousand charger was responsible. It’s listed as an Amazon best-seller and it’s highly rated.

In fact, we found only two reviews that mentioned the possibility of the charger overheating.

But Lieutenant Elmore says it is important to be cautious. Even with the best chargers on the market.

“You have to make sure that you are paying attention when you are utilizing them,” Elmore said. “Place them on a countertop in an open space so they’re not in a backpack or they’re not stuffed in a pocket in your pants or a sweatshirt or something.”

He says something like this has never happened in Chesterfield County.

“Most of these battery packs are very safe,” Elmore said. “You are able to use them and have no problems. But there has been some across the nation that has caused fires.”

Lieutenant Elmore said this is also a good reminder that when charging any electrical device, make sure you are keeping it away from flammable materials like bedding.

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