The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nokia battery blast rerun

A BL-5C battery in 23-year-old Uday Prakash Verma’s second-hand Nokia 2280 cellphone burst early on Sunday, causing burns to his father, nephew and niece.

The explosion occurred in the Vermas’ Netaji Subhash Road house, off Howrah Maidan, while the battery was being charged. The owner of the phone, Uday, a credit card salesman, said he had got the battery tested at the Nokia Care shop in Panchanantala a month ago, after the company issued an advisory stating that a particular series of its BL-5C batteries were prone to overheating.

“The people in the shop had said the battery was okay,” said Uday. He has, however, lost the document issued by the shop. “My trousers were sent to the laundry with the slip in the pocket.”

Uday had bought the mobile two years ago from his friend Himadri Porel, of Mandirtala, for Rs 600. He does not possess the phone box or papers to prove that the phone belongs to him. He lodged a diary with Howrah police station in the evening.

“A loud sound, like a chocolate bomb explosion, woke me up at 5.30am. My grandson and granddaughter were crying as they had suffered burns. Parts of the battery had fallen on the bed and pillows,” said Uday’s 53-year-old father Kanhaiya Lal, who was burnt on the neck and shoulders.

The phone was placed in a plastic holder attached to the wall beside a switchboard, above the bed on which the three were sleeping.

Kanhaiya Lal’s two-year-old granddaughter Ishika suffered burns in the head and some of her hair was singed. Her brother Aman, 4, a student of AVN Memorial Hall, has burns on his fingers.

The Vermas had not consulted a doctor till the evening. “We put ointment on the burns. A nephew of mine, who is a doctor, will check us,” said Kanhaiya Lal, an LIC agent.

Uday returned home around 2.30am from Kankinara, where he had gone to visit his in-laws on Ganesh Chaturthi. “I put the phone on charge at 3am and went to sleep. It had been charged for hardly two-and-a-half hours when it burst,” said Uday.

A Nokia spokesperson said: “We are ascertaining the facts regarding the alleged blast of a Nokia 2280 and have got in touch with its owner.”

On August 29, the BLD-3 battery of a Nokia mobile had burst in Ganguly Bagan, leaving pregnant homemaker Kishori Saha shaken.

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