A Calgary, Canada, man was out with his wife on Friday evening when an e-cigarette in his pocket exploded, causing third-degree burns on his leg.
CTV News reports that the incident was caught on surveillance camera as the couple waited outside of a local “surf and turf” restaurant. Terrence Johnson, a e-cig user, received a third-degree burn to his thigh and first and second-degree burns on his hands. His wife, Rachel Rex, told CTV the incident resembled a “molitov cocktail.”
“All of a sudden there were flames everywhere. I actually thought someone had thrown a Molotov cocktail at us.”
The explosion was so severe that, according to Rex, it burned through Johnson’s jeans and polyester briefs underwear. The polyester apparently melted on Johnson’s skin, causing additional burns. Johnson indicated that the change in his pocket likely triggered the e-cig explosion by reacting to its battery.
Johnson said he’d been using e-cigarettes for years, yet he said shop owner never warned about the potential hazards nor did he see any manufacturer warnings on the e-cig packaging or labels.
“I was unaware that a battery could just basically explode and turn into a flare or a torch in your pocket.”
“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,” Rex continued.
The injuries caused Johnson to miss work while we recovers at home. According to a GoFundMe page created for Johnson by a friend, Rex is also out of work on a separate medical issue, leaving the family with no income.
In the meantime, Johnson said that he’s no longer using e-cigs or any type of tobacco product.
“The e-cigarette did its job, and I was able to quit tobacco cigarettes, but this is scary enough that I will not touch another e-cigarette.”
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, explosions and fires caused by e-cigarettes are a rare occurrence. Between 2009 and 2015, there were 25 reported incidents of explosions in the U.S.; nine people were injured and there were no deaths. The explosions generally occur while the battery is being charged. Five of the accidents resulted in fires starting. E-cig popularity continues to grow, with an estimated 2.5 million users in the U.S.
[Feature Photo: GoFundMe]