Student's cellphone battery ignites at Deerfield Park Elementary School

9-year-old boy suffers minor burn on leg, authorities say

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Ian Margol - Reporter, Janine Stanwood - Anchor/Reporter

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. - A student's cellphone battery ignited Tuesday morning in class, causing students to briefly evacuate from Deerfield Park Elementary School, authorities said.

Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles said a 9-year-old boy, Jamar Dean, suffered a minor burn on his leg and was released to his parents.

According to Jachles, the boy heard his phone beeping, so he took out the battery and noticed that it had a hole in it.

Thinking nothing of it, the boy put the battery in his pocket, but then took it out when he felt it burning his leg.

Jachles said the boy dropped the battery on the floor and it ignited.

Jachles said the fire burned itself out and firefighters ventilated the hallway near the classroom.

Broward County Public Schools spokeswoman Cathy Brennan said students and staff were evacuated from the school at 650 SW Third Ave. for 15 to 20 minutes.

The cellphone was reportedly a Coolpad Catalyst, a cellphone mainly used for new smartphone users, like children, or older people who are looking for a simple smartphone. 

"They are delicate electronics and they do have high voltage, so it's important to make sure you follow the manufacturer's recommendations to any devices," Jachles said. "If a battery is damaged, and you know that, don't use it (and) safely dispose of it."

Jamar's grandmother, Markesha Burgess, said her daughter called her at work to to tell her about what happened.

"My first concern: I was worried if he was okay, was he badly burned? I was just in shock," Burgess said.

Burgess said her grandson described how the battery of his Coolpad Catalyst phone became hot.

"He was like, 'my phone - it was hot!' He heard something ringing ad he tried to take the battery out, and it got warm and he dropped it," she said.

The state fire marshal is investigating what caused the battery to ignite.

The incident came a week after an overheated cellphone charger sparked a brief evacuation at Shenandoah Middle School in Miami.

No injuries were reported in that incident.

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