Seventeen-year-old Colorado student Marcus Forzani hopes reports of a severe burn injury he received when an e-cigarette exploded in his pocket Thursday, setting his leg on fire and causing second- and third-degree burns that extended from his upper thigh all the way down to the middle of his calf.
Marcus, a resident of Castle Rock, was in school when the e-cigarette began shooting flames through the leg of his pants. The teen told KDVR Fox 31 News in Denver that he stood up to get his jacket when the bell rang and sparks started flying out of his pants.
“It literally looked like someone was welding in my pocket, he told KDVR.
The malfunction charred his leg black, causing blisters and pieces of skin to fall off. The injury was so severe that he was treated at the Burn and Reconstruction Center of Colorado at Swedish Medical Center, where he received skin grafts and pain management.
Burn and Reconstruction Center’s Dr. Tanya Oswald, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, told KDVR that injuries caused by e-cigarettes aren’t uncommon.
“These injuries can be devastating. He sustained full thickness burn injuries,” she told KDVR. “In the past six months, we’ve seen an increase in the number of burn patients as well as dramatic injury patients in relation to electronic cigarettes and battery-operated [e-cigarettes].”
Marcus’ father, Michael Forzani, said teens and other people need to know about the risk of fire and injury the electronic devices pose.
“You see these kids and you’re going, there’s a ticking time bomb. Is that one going to blow up? Is that one going to catch this kid on fire? You don’t know,” Mr. Forzani told KDVR.
The devices are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which if not manufactured in compliance with U.S. safety codes, can overheat, catch fire, and explode.
“Seeing your whole leg pussed out and all black and it doesn’t make you feel too good about yourself,” Marcus told KDVR. “I just feel, people, if they know how tragic it is, they might actually make a movement and get rid of it or something,” he added.
Source: KDVR Fox 31