“After being plugged in for somewhere between 5-10 minutes I heard a sizzling sound. I looked down on the iPod just in time to see it explode open and start shooting sparks and spewing smoke,” recalls an iPod Nano user on the Consumerist.

Although the problem, albeit a rare occurrence according to Apple (see below), seems to be affecting iPod Nanos worldwide, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) has launched an investigation into the matter. Their website states, “There have been multiple cases of overheating and fire damage, in particular during recharging, so please use caution.” The METI goes on to stay that Apple has already recorded 14 such instances in Japan alone.

Apple responded to the METI with a statement earlier today, confirming that “in very rare cases,” the batteries in 1st generation iPod Nanos (sold between September 2005 and December 2006), can overheat and cause fire damage. Though no serious injuries have resulted to date and “less than 0.001 percent of first generation iPod nano units” are affected, Apple urges worried consumers to contact Apple Care reps for a replacement.