HIALEAH (CBSMiami) – When a cell phone battery exploded at a Hialeah gym, Jackie Marinas was too close for comfort.
“I was going to get some water, I heard the boom,” Marinas said. “I thought it was a firecracker. It sounded kind of loud but then I felt the heat in my arm. Somebody yelled your hair is on fire.”
Witnesses at the Planet Fitness could smell something burning Tuesday night.
Nino Mejia says he helped stomp out the flames.
“All I hear is a loud pop,” Mejia told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana. “I turned around and there’s screams. I look and I see fire out of nowhere starting from the ground.”
He noticed Marinas patting out the flames in her hair.
“My face started irritating (sic) because of the chemicals, the lithium. I had it all over my hair my face,” Marinas said in an exclusive interview with CBS4 News Wednesday.
Gym members were evacuated, but at the time, no one was sure exactly what happened.
Miami-Dade’s Bomb Squad was called out to investigate.
“It was really scary with everything that’s happening. Yesterday being the one year anniversary of the Boston bombing it was a little bit freaky,” Marinas said.
Police say the battery that exploded came from a Samsung Galaxy I-9300.
Gym members say the battery fell out of someone’s pocket during a workout, and the flying debris struck Marinas.
Consumer safety advocates say instances of bursting batteries are on the rise.
“I used to have a spare battery and I would overcharge my phone. Imagine if that would have happened to me. Kind of freaks me out,” Alyssa Sagastume said.
It wasn’t Marinas’ phone that exploded, but she was the only person who was hurt.
She was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
She said doctors wanted to ensure the chemicals she inhaled didn’t make it to her lungs.
“It was very scary because I didn’t know what the real situation was. I felt better afterward knowing it was not a homemade device,” Marinas said. “It was just a freak accident.”
A statement from Samsun said, “Samsung investigates all consumer reports of issues with product safety. we would like to reach out to the affected customer so that we can retrieve the product to determine the cause of the issue.”
New York Senator Chuck Schumer is calling for banning cheap batteries that don’t meet certain safety standards. He encouraged people to stick with name brand batteries from phone manufacturers.