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We’ve covered a seemingly countless number of reports in which Apple’s iPhone has been accused of sparking fires — in some instances, causing grave bodily harm to those caught in the fray. But the latest incident of an iPhone 6 gone up-in-flames, which took place back in 2016, is arguably the most heart wrenching among them.
According to a CBC News report, on October 11, 2016 British Columbia, Canada-based couple, Cathy and Ian Finley, were blindsided when their three-month-old iPhone 6 allegedly caught fire while charging inside the living room of their Langley, B.C. home and business — Laurica Farms — ultimately torching and burning their sprawling property to the ground, investigators concluded.
Now, as they attempt to pick up and reconcile the charred ashes of what was once a thriving, profitable family business, the Finleys are allegedly demanding that Apple compensate for as much as $600,000 of their uninsured losses.
While there’s still no “official determination” of what actually caused the fire, CBC News reports that local fire officials who discovered the charred device while investigating the scene said “it would appear that the phone or charger generated enough heat to ignite” the flames, which allegedly originated from a chair upon which the iPhone 6 was placed.
“I was having problems with my phone. It had been glitching in the days running up to the fire,” said Cathy Finley, adding that, on the day of the blaze, she plugged the iPhone 6 into its Lightning port to charge before exiting the building to tend to her animals.
It was a long while, however, before she looked up and noticed smoke emanating from the farmhouse, prompting immediate concerns.
“When I got about two meters [6-feet] from the house, the heat was intense. I couldn’t get any closer. I opened the door, but I was just engulfed in smoke,” she said, adding that after she was able to grab hold of a few small items, she made her way over to a neighbor’s residence to seek help.
“I watched the house burn around me,” Finley said, noting that she was essentially helpless given that her husband, Ian Finley, was at work off property; and daughters, Lauren and Jessica Finley, were at school at the time of the incident.
Langley, B.C. fire officials who investigated evidence at the scene concluded that the blaze originated from the same chair upon which Finley’s iPhone 6 was charging — claims which ultimately prompted the couple to “demand” Apple compensate them for as much as $600,000 to cover their losses.
The couple was forced to close Laurica Farms — well known for its annual kids camps and sustainable farming tours — and refund customers who’d been active participants of their famed vegetable delivery program.
Apple confirmed it’s currently looking into the couple’s claim, though the company has yet to issue comment.
Meanwhile, hundreds of social media users, in response to the Finley’s tearful pleas, have signed a petition over on change.org demanding that Apple compensate them.
After nearly a year of negotiations and bureaucratic proceedings with their insurance providers, the Finelys, in August, 2017, received a $600,000 payout from their insurance and have begun rebuilding their property.
However, due to the soaring costs of planning and reconstruction, Finley added that “We might lose this house that we are building with our own hands” because the payout, albeit substantial, only covers about half the cost of their project.
“A tally of the family’s uninsured losses, from the stalled farm and tour business to building and medication costs, came to about an additional $600,000,” CBC News said.
Presently, after months of working to rebuild their lives, a forensic firm working on behalf of the Langley, B.C. fire department is in possession of the blackened iPhone 6. Apple, for its part, has indicated openness to hear the couple’s claim and examine the evidence for itself — but as of yet, the company has been unable to examine the device and refuses to “commit to further action” until it does.