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'Safe' Note 7 Starts Smoking, Forces Plane Evacuation

Editors' Note: Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET with a comment from Samsung.

Another Galaxy Note 7 has reportedly caught fire, triggering the evacuation of an airplane. And this time, the smartphone involved appears to be one of the replacement models Samsung issued after recalling the Note 7.

The incident took place today (Oct. 5) on a Southwest Airlines airplane slated to head from Louisville to Baltimore. But the plane was evacuated at the gate after the cabin began filling up with smoke, according to a report from WHAS TV in Louisville. No one was injured, though the plane's carpet suffered some damage.

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Officials say the cause of the smoke was a Samsung smartphone. And The Verge talked to the owner of the phone, Brian Green, who said his phone was one of the supposedly safe replacement models Samsung released after it recalled the original Note 7 due to a fire hazard posed by the phone's battery. The Verge's report includes a picture of the box Green's Note 7 came in; the box shows the black square symbol used to designate the replacement Note 7s.

Credit: The Verge

(Image credit: The Verge)

Samsung told us it's looking into the matter when we contacted the company for comment. "Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note 7," a spokesperson said. "We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause. Once we have examined the device, we will have more information to share."

If it's confirmed that it was a replacement Note 7 that caused today's evacuation, it's a disastrous turn of events for Samsung, already reeling from manufacturing problems involving the original Note 7's battery. In September, Samsung recalled the phone after reports of its battery catching fire. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission said at the time of the recall that there had been 92 reports of the phone's battery overheating in the U.S., resulting in 26 burns and 55 instances of property damage.

Green's account of today's fire reported by The Verge seems in line with those incidents. Green told The Verge that he had powered down his Note 7 when it began smoking. The battery was reportedly at 80 percent capacity at the time of the incident, and Green told The Verge he's only used a wireless charger since getting the phone on Sept. 21.