An Apple store in Amsterdam’s Leidseplein square had to be evacuated for some time after an iPad battery exploded. The explosion was believed to be the result of an overheating iPad battery. Dutch broadcaster AT5 as well as Dutch blog iCulture reported that the overheating battery had resulted in leaking vapors.
The Apple staff present over there quickly dealt with the device. They put it in a container with sand and firefighters were called. As a precautionary measure the store was evacuated. Though there were not any physical injuries to anyone, three people had to be treated for respiratory issues. They were inside the store when the incident took place.
It has been noted that unrelated issues with iPhone batteries have resulted in “thermal events” in both Switzerland and Spain this year. The incident that took place in Zurich resulted in one person suffering from minor burns while six others had received treatment for smoke inhalation. It is clear that thermal events like these can be dangerous. The manufacturing company has to look into these and find the reason for the explosions. Also, the staff needs to be quick to respond in such situations.
Like most major manufacturers Apple also uses rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in their devices. These are compact in size and capable of holding a lot of energy. The downside is that lithium-ion batteries are more prone to exploding if the thin, internal polypropylene layer that keeps electrodes from touching is breached. They are also dangerous if the flammable electrolyte inside gets too hot or in situations of result of production error, damage, off-brand chargers, design flaws or just may be bad luck. Apple devices have a history of problems related to the batteries such as the iPhone throttling fiasco and expanding MacBook batteries. However fires and dangerous overheating have not been at the top of the list generally.
In the Amsterdam incident, no one was seriously injured. However, much more serious safety issues have been reported for years at Apple’s Chinese suppliers like Foxconn. There have been instances of chemical exposure, explosions and even fires. Foxconn also manufactures devices for other major companies like Amazon. As per the New York Times and Business Insider, abusive and grueling labor practices at facilities owned by the company have been reported to continue through this year.
The smart staff at the store deserves appreciation for their quick response to the incident.