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Minnesota boy burned when cellphone battery explodes

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A male student at a Rochester middle school suffered burns at school this week after the cellphone he was carrying in his pocket exploded, the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports.

Frank B. Kellogg Middle School principal Dwight Jennings sent out an audio message to parents in the district after the incident Thursday, where, upon the explosion, the cellphone battery burned a hole in the boy's pants and burned his leg.

The battery also left burn mark on the floor, and the explosion left a lingering odor that could be smelled throughout the school. The principal advised parents to monitor their child for any effects from inhaling the smoke.

Children who were in the classroom where the cellphone exploded were evacuated from the area, and were allowed to return when the smoke cleared.

KARE 11 talked with a spokesman with the Consumer Products Safety Commission, who confirmed they've received reports before of cellphones exploding and sometimes catching on fire.

The explosions are caused by something called "thermal runaway," where a domino effect is created when a cellphone battery gets hot.

Experts with Clockwork Media Systems told KARE that a chemical reaction starts in the battery and it gets "hotter and hotter until gases escape or it explodes."

Although the cellphone explosions are rare, the CPSC suggests the following safety measures: Don't use chargers or batteries not designed to work with your cellphone and avoid knock-off brands; keep your cellphones away from excessive heat; and keep your cellphone battery's positive and negative connections from crossing.

A full list of safety measures can be found on the CPSC website.

See KARE's report below.

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