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A battery back-up, or a power bank as it is popularly known as, blasted off while it was charging a smartphone, ripping apart the gym bag in which it was placed.

The incident occurred last week when Robin K, an Indian working as a manager in Dubai, was heading to the gym and had just got out of his car, when he heard the noise and saw his bag on fire.

"The bag was still inside the vehicle when I heard the noise. I was shocked to see the fire. I immediately took the bag and threw it out of the car. Luckily, there was no major damage, except to my bag,” said Robin.

Power banks are portable devices with self-contained rechargeable batteries that can be used to charge other devices, mostly smartphones or similar gadgets.

The particular power bank was charging up a Samsung Galaxy S4 when the incident occurred.

The smartphone, however, managed to survive the impact of the blast. “The smartphone was protected with a metal case. Only the screen protector was damaged,” said Robin.

For Robin, it was a lucky escape as just a week ago he had the same power bank placed in his pant pocket to recharge his phone. “I cannot imagine a situation if a similar accident had occurred then. I had kept both the charger and the phone in my pocket.”

There have been several similar instances of power bank bursts mainly caused by the use of fake lithium-ion batteries and faulty circuit system.

“I received this particular power bank as a gift. It is an unknown brand and was made in China,” said Robin.

While most power banks use lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries, several manufacturers use fake and cheaper products to save cost, which could result in a blast.

Last year many similar Chinese products were recalled from the US, following incidents of fire.

Users in the Middle East, especially in Gulf countries should also be careful of placing such devices in extreme temperatures inside the car. Many of these power banks, especially when made out of cheap materials cannot withstand the extreme heat and might result in overheating when being charged or charging other devices.