The “stop, drop and roll” mantra came in handy for a Maine eighth-grader when her cellphone caught fire in her pocket at school.

Kennebunk middle school Principal Jeff Rodman told The Portland Press Herald that the girl heard a popping sound one morning and smoke started billowing around her.

Boys were herded from the room so the 14-year-old girl could shed her flaming pants. She also did the “stop, drop and roll” move to help put out the fire. The girl was taken to the hospital in Biddeford, where she was treated for what her mother said were second-degree burns. She was released after about 45 minutes.

Her mother had given her the Apple iPhone 5C two months earlier.

She asked to return to class, her mother said, but school officials and health care workers encouraged her to go home.

A call to Apple headquarters was not returned by press time.

Andrew Rosenstein, owner of TechPort in Portland, which repairs Apple products, said customers have brought in batteries that were swollen and at risk of malfunction after extended use, but not from a phone that was almost new.

“There’s basically a lithium-ion type rechargeable battery built in (to an iPhone). The battery, as it charges and discharges, it’s really a chemical reaction that can generate heat,” Rosenstein said. “It’s very rare there can be an issue, but any battery is just a chemical composition that can be flammable in extreme circumstances.”

Rosenstein said his business uses a fireproof box to store batteries from devices that are being repaired, so fire cannot spread if they somehow ignite.

There have been sporadic reports of phone fires, though typically the phones that caught fire were being charged.

The most notable malfunctions of lithium ion batteries were aboard two 787 Boeing Dreamliners, causing fires that led to the grounding of the aircraft.

Rosenstein couldn’t say what would have caused the battery in the eighth-grader’s phone to burn. He said there’s nothing else in the phone that could cause a fire. “These batteries installed in Apple products in particular are extremely safe. It’s an extremely rare incident,” he said.

Source: Portland Press Herald,