A Canadian man is recovering from severe burns after an e-cigarette battery exploded in his pocket over the weekend leaving him badly injured.
The victim, Terrence Johnson and his wife Rachel Rex were leaving a restaurant after a dinner date and were chatting with their waiter outside when their conversation was interrupted by a flash and Johnson was injured by flames that burst out from his pants pocket.
Investigations reveal that a spare e-cigarette battery had touched some change in Johnson’s pocket, causing it to burst into flames. As the loose spare e-cigarette battery came in contact with the coins, heat from the explosion fused the battery to Johnson’s jeans.
The couple said that staff at the restaurant helped extinguish the flames and collected fragments of the battery before paramedics arrived and rushed them to a nearby Hospital where it was found out that he will need skin grafting for third-degree burns.
Narrating the ordeal, Rex said it was a horrific experience as her husband’s vaping days are over.
“We were outside of our favourite restaurant Embarcadero chatting with our favourite waiter after a great meal and there was an explosion and flames everywhere. We realized my husband Terrence was on fire. The loose backup battery for his e-cigarette had exploded in his pocket with some change.
“It burned through his jeans and melted his polyester underwear to his skin and he burnt his hand trying to put the fire out. He mostly has first and second-degree burns but the black spot on his thigh is third degree and he will likely need a skin graft.”
Most e-cigarettes use lithium batteries due to their ability to store large amounts of energy in a compact space, but they can produce a discharge when shorted out.
“We had heard about the actual devices exploding but never knew the risk of the batteries. We keep thinking thank god one of our kids wasn’t standing next to him and we want to warn people.
“We also want to give props to Greg, the head waiter at Embarcadero, who was instrumental in keeping calm and helping until EMS arrived,” Rex said.
While there are currently no long-term studies available on the health effects of e-cigarettes and vaping, some dangers have been identified which consumers need to be aware of with these devices.
More so, after treating a string of smokers injured by exploding devices, surgeons and firemen have warned about the dangers of e-cigarettes.
The number of injuries caused by exploding e-cigarettes has been on the rise, with 66 explosions occurring in 2015 and early 2016 alone. That’s compared with 92 explosions between 2009 and September 2015 – averaging around 18 a year, or 27 per cent of the most recent totals.
E-cigarettes faulty lithium-ion batteries, coupled with increasing popularity, are the suspected culprits in the dramatic increase in injuries. However, the industry maintains e-cigarettes are safe when used properly.