FAA issues warnings about Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fire risk

The FAA has issued warnings about Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7, less than a week after a global recall was issued for the devices over fears its batteries could burst into flames.

The FAA is warning the public not to operate or charge the popular phones inside passenger cabins, and is also urging passengers not to stow them in checked luggage, reports Josh Elliott, of CBS News’ digital network, CBSN.

The agency’s move follows yet another alarming fire attributed to the device that ripped through the interior of Nathan Dornacher’s jeep on Labor Day.

“It was very surprising to me how quick the dash caught on fire,” Dornacher said. “That’s the last thought in my head, is that a brand new device, something as simple as a phone is going to burn down my car.”

He left his Samsung Galaxy Note 7 charging on the center console while briefly going inside his house.

Local fire authorities and Samsung are still investigating the exact cause of the explosion, but it follows at least 35 similar phone fires around the world that Samsung blames on faulty batteries.  Last Friday, the company recalled all 2.5 million units it shipped since the phone’s launch.

 “This was a very popular phone. It got great reviews pretty universally,” said Matt Novak of Gizmodo. “It was very popular when it launched August 19th, but it’s got a really bad battery that seems to have a tendency to ignite when you charge it.”

The FAA’s  action does not outright ban the devices from airplanes. Instead the agency “strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge” them.  But a complete ban is in place in Australia, where earlier this week, three Australian airlines decided to prohibit passengers from using them in aircraft cabins.

“Samsung will ultimately recover but I think it’s obviously bad press,” Novak said. “I think that Samsung’s going to take a big hit with this one just because it doesn’t look good.”

Samsung told “CBS This Morning” that it’s working with Nathan Dornacher to investigate his case. As for all the other Note 7 owners worldwide, the company is urging them to exchange their devices for new ones.

The company’s latest statement did not directly address the FAA’s action.