Second Case of Exploding Rip-Off USB Charger in NSW Almost Killed 14-Year-Old

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By Anne Lu | June 30, 2014 4:04 PM EST

Another cheap USB charger has almost cost the life of a 14-year-old. Lorna Sommerville bought a knock-off USB charger for $10 from Paddy’s Market for her son Daniel, which turned out to be a big mistake as the charger exploded within centimetres of the teen’s head.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Sommerville from Kanahooka bought the cheap iPod accessory on Sunday from Paddy’s Market for Daniel’s birthday. But come Monday evening, the device was useless.

It had exploded near Daniel’s head after he plugged it into his iPod.

His mum saw a flash of light and heard a loud bang coming from his room, describing it as “like metal hitting metal.”

“Daniel came out of his bedroom with a stunned look on his face. He said, ‘the charger,’” Sommerville said. “The whole house smelt like gun powder. I was shocked.”

The charger’s explosion not only almost killed Daniel, but also caused the electric supply to short circuit in some of their house’s rooms.

“Who knows what would have happened if we didn’t have a circuit breaker,” she said. After hearing about the other woman that got killed by it, we’re really thinking how seriously lucky Daniel is.”

The other woman was Sheryl Anne Aldeguer, a 28-year-old mother of two from Sydney who was found dead wearing headphones and holding her laptop in her rented room in Gosford on April 23. She was believed to be electrocuted by a counterfeit USB charger, which she apparently bought for $4.95 from a stall in Campsie.

Aldeguer, originally from the Philippines, was supposed to start work as a nurse at Gosford Hospital just days before her death.

Authorities have issued a warning to consumers against buying cheap devices. The NSW Fair Trading is now urging buyers to refrain from buying non-compliant chargers from markets or small kiosks in shopping centres.

A device that is compliant with Australian standards should have a tick symbol, called a C Tick. The tick may be inside a circle or triangle, according to Tech Guide.

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