North Carolina

He was vaping in his home. Then it exploded in his face, firefighters say

While concerns about their safety persist, e-cigarettes have surpassed traditional cigarettes in popularity among youths, according to a recently released UNC Charlotte survey of middle school and high school students in Charlotte.
While concerns about their safety persist, e-cigarettes have surpassed traditional cigarettes in popularity among youths, according to a recently released UNC Charlotte survey of middle school and high school students in Charlotte. Charlotte Observer

A smoker was vaping in his home when his e-cigarette device exploded in his face, the fire chief in Long View, North Carolina, told The Charlotte Observer.

The victim was standing outside his home in the 1300 block of 28th Street Southwest when firefighters arrived, “and he was alert and talking to with us,” Fire Chief James Brinkley told the Observer in an interview.

Firefighters responded to a call of a “traumatic injury” at the home at about 12:45 p.m., Brinkley said.

EMS took the victim to Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory, Brinkley told the Observer. He was then flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

Brinkley said he did not immediately know the extent of the victim’s facial or other injuries. He also said he could not release the victim’s age, only that he is a “male.”

The Catawba County Fire Marshal’s Office has the device and is investigating the cause of the explosion, Brinkley said.

Brinkley told the Observer he has heard of such explosions elsewhere, but this was the first handled by his department.

In May, a 38-year-old man in St. Petersburg, Fla., died of a head injury when a “vape pen” exploded, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

The U.S. Fire Administration reported that from 2009 to 20016, 195 “e-cigarette fire and explosion incidents” occurred in the U.S.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration report, 133 “acute injuries” were reported in 68 percent of the incidents, but no deaths.

A man was rushed to Community Regional Medical Center in December 2016 after his e-cigarette apparently exploded in his pocket while he was riding a FAX bus in downtown Fresno, California. Witnesses said the man was trying use the device while rid

Victoria Sylvestre, co-owner of The Vapor Girl, explains how electronic cigarettes create vapor. Sylvestre and her husband Marc own five vapor shops in the Triangle area. Video by Virginia Bridges/ vbridges@newsobserver.com

The FDA offers these tips to avoid vape battery explosions:

Consider using vape devices with safety features.

Keep loose batteries in a case to prevent contact with metal objects.

Never charge your vape device with a phone or tablet charger.

Replace the batteries if they are get damaged or wet.

Don’t charge your vape device overnight.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak
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