Samsung Phone Investigated as Possible Cause of Another Car Fire With Recall Still Pending

Police say remnants of a phone are being examined to establish the fire's cause.

Police previously said that authorities were investigating whether a Samsung Galaxy Note7, another Samsung smartphone, was responsible for the fire. But late today, the wife of the man whose vehicle caught fire told ABC News that a Samsung Galaxy S7 was in the vehicle.

In recent days, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urged consumers to not use or charge the Note7, another Samsung smartphone, after multiple reports that it was exploding or catching fire during charging.

Samsung, which is based in South Korea, has acknowledged the smartphone has “a battery cell issue,” and that it is working to ship out new units with defect-free batteries. In the meantime, it is urging current Note7 owners to discontinue use and exchange it for another model until new units are made available.

The Port St. Lucie incident on Tuesday night was the second car fire that owners claimed was linked to a Samsung phone.

In nearby St. Petersburg, a family claimed that a Note7 was the cause of a Labor Day fire that consumed their Jeep.

A Samsung spokesperson told ABC News at the time that it was working with the car owner to investigate the fire and do everything it could to assist him.

In regards to the Port St. Lucie case, the local fire marshal is testing the remnants found in the car of what authorities originally said was a Note7, Port St. Lucie Police Master Sgt. Frank Sabol told ABC News today.

Police said they can’t confirm that the phone was the cause of the blaze, which broke out around 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday night and destroyed the 2008 Hyundai Sonata. The incident was not being investigated as arson, police said.

The driver of the car was Clifford Samuels, 55, of Port St. Lucie, police said.

A fire official told ABC News that the car was fully engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived on scene, and that the driver was uninjured.

Samsung did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment on the Port St. Lucie incident.

What Current Note7 Owners Need to Know

The CPSC is urging consumers who own a Note7 to “power them down and stop charging or using the device,” while it works with Samsung to establish an official government-sanctioned recall.

Samsung attempted to establish its own unofficial recall on Sept. 2, when it launched what it called a “U.S. Product Exchange Program.” The company said at that time it had received 35 reports of issues, but didn't characterize the reports.

That program, which is still in effect, encourages current owners to return their devices to the retail location where they bought them, where they can either temporarily exchange their Note7 for another model until a CPSC-approved replacement Note7 is available. Alternatively, current Note7 owners can trade in their devices for one of two other models, with a refund of the price difference.

Samsung’s latest guidance can be found here.

Official Recall and Replacement

When announcing the “exchange program” on Sept. 2, Samsung said that replacement Note7s would be made “available next week." However, a week later, with no replacement Note7s on shelves or going to consumers, the company acknowledged that it was seeking an official recall through the CPSC.

The company has yet to offer a time frame for when it would make replacement Note7s available, saying instead that they would be available “pending CPSC approval.”

ABC News learned on Monday that the CPSC was set to evaluate the replacement units to see if the new batteries were acceptable.

Apologies in Asia, and a Battery Charge Cap?

Meanwhile, in South Korea, Samsung has begun running newspaper advertisements apologizing for the battery issue. The company also said that current Note7 owners would be able to exchange their units for a substitute even during upcoming local holidays, known as Chuseok. The advertisement does not feature the Samsung logo, and is written in Korean, even in English-language newspapers.

The company said in the apology carried by Korean newspapers that it would be rolling out a software update on Sept. 20 for Note7s that are not exchanged and that the software update will cap the amount the battery can be charged to 60 percent. Samsung did not immediately respond to repeated attempts by ABC News to get clarification on whether that software update will apply to Note7s in the U.S. that customers do not trade in or exchange.

Instead, a spokesperson said in a statement: “In the U.S., Samsung is continuing to work with the CPSC and our carrier partners to develop and evaluate solutions that are best for U.S. Note7 owners. No action will be taken without the approval of the CPSC. Customer safety remains our top priority.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect new information, including that the wife of the owner of the vehicle in Port St. Lucie has said that a Galaxy S7 -- not a Note7 -- was in the vehicle when the fire began. Police previously said that they believed it was a Note7.

ABC News’ Karson Yiu and Sang-un Youn in Seoul, South Korea; Daniel Steinberger in Washington; and Avianne Tan in New York contributed to this report.