Cell phone suspected as cause of fire that injured toddler

JEANERETTE, LA (WAFB) - A 1-year-old girl suffered second-degree burns in a fire believed to have started from a cell phone being charged on a bed early Thursday morning, according to investigators.

The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal reported it happened in Jeanerette just before 1 a.m.

"There was a one-year-old child who actually sustained burns to the hands, face, and arms," said State Fire Marshal Butch Browning.

He added the victim was taken to a hospital in Galveston, Texas, for treatment.

According to the fire marshal's office, a 14-year-old said he was sleeping in a room with his 1-year-old sister and when he went to use the bathroom, he smelled smoke and saw flames on the mattress.

"It appears the cell phone was actually sitting on the sheets, the bedding material of the mattress, which has a low combustibility rating," Browning said.

Detectives reported they have determined the fire started on the bed, which is where the phone lying while plugged into a wall outlet.

They added they have not yet determined the exact cause of the fire, but they can't rule out it was due to some type of electrical malfunction with the phone being charged. They did not provide details about the type of phone that was getting charged.

"We don't know exactly what caused the fire, whether it was the phone it's self or whether it was the charging process or the wiring leading to the charger," Browning said.

"It just melted so it overheated and melted for some reason. It wasn't like the exploding battery where you can see the thing all busted apart and that kind of thing," he added.

According to officials, the fire marshal's office was contacted by the Jeanerette Fire Department about what happened and deputy marshals responded to the scene.

The investigation is ongoing.

Browning urged the public to be careful when charging electronic devices.

"When you're charging these phones, by nature they do get hot. If you have charged your phone for a while, you know that your phone gets overheated from time to time so you should put these phones on a stable base, not on paper, not on bedding material, not on things that can burn very quickly. A hard surface like a glass table or even a wood table so if it does heat up, that heat will dissipate and not to be absorbed and potential he cause a fire."

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