A British Columbia (Canada). couple are demanding Apple pay $600,000 in uninsured losses after they were forced to close their farm business following a devastating house fire that they claim was sparked by a faulty iPhone.
Fire officials who found the blackened device while investigating reported that “it would appear that the phone or charger generated enough heat to ignite” in a chair that was identified as the place the fire started.
Laurica Farm’s owners kicked off a social media campaign trying to shame Apple into paying for their losses after a fire they believe was sparked by an iPhone. (Facebook/Laurica Farm)
After a year of negotiating, a $600,000 insurance payout allowed the Finleys to begin rebuilding. But the ordeal hurt their farming business and insurance didn’t cover all costs. They were too overwhelmed to continue their vegetable delivery program and had to refund customers. They also cancelled planned celebrity chef dinners and school tours as they dealt with insurance details and rebuilding.
Apple has confirmed that they have received their claim but have no comment.
“I was having problems with my phone. It had been glitching in the days running up to the fire,” said Cathy Finley.
Langley fire prevention officials investigated and concluded that flames originated on the chair where the iPhone had been charging.
The Finleys obtained the initial fire investigation report that concluded the fire originated in the leather chair, where the cell phone was found.
“It would appear that the phone or charger generated enough heat to ignite the leather chair and notebook and start the fire,” read the conclusions of Langley Fire Prevention Officer Capt. Ken Strand, dated Oct. 13, 2016.
He later clarified that an official cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
“The cellphone was on a combustible surface while charging. It was in the area of origin but was not ruled out or determined to be the igniting object or direct cause of the fire,” he wrote to CBC.
Past fires involving lithium-ion batteries have led to warnings for consumers to charge any device on non-combustible surfaces, Strand added.