An Arizona woman whose e-cigarette exploded in her lap while driving continues to recover from burn injuries and broken bones in a Phoenix hospital a month after the incident.
The 20-year-old woman’s e-cigarette exploded in her lap as she was pulling up to a curb. Witnesses told police the woman jumped from the vehicle, fell to the ground, then got up again and stumbled. She was reportedly rolling on the ground when her truck started moving and rolled over her, crushing her pelvis and legs.
Firefighters transported the woman to Maricopa Medical Center with severe burns on her legs and back, in addition to a broken pelvis and broken legs.
The unidentified woman, a resident of Chandler, Arizona, told police investigators that “all of a sudden it was like a firecracker right in my lap.
“I was pulling up and … I didn’t even know what to do,” the woman said.
The truck continued to roll past the woman until it crashed into a tree. Police footage shared by KNPX 12 News shows Tempe Police Department responders discussing what happened.
“I opened the door and the whole inside of the cab was on fire,” one officer is heard saying.
The woman could remain in the hospital for another month. Her father told 12 News that she would not be able to stand for at least two months.
Almost all e-cigarette explosions are caused by the lithium-ion batteries that power them. These powerful, rechargeable lithium-cell batteries can malfunction if they are poorly designed or manufactured, damaged, overcharged, or stored or carried with other batteries or metal objects.
Fire officials often warn about the dangers of lithium batteries and advise people to take every precaution when using them. But the fact that nearly every electronic and rechargeable device contains lithium batteries means there is little to no room for error.
A Yonkers, New York, Fire Chief recently spoke to the press about lithium battery safety after a battery fire nearly destroyed a home there. Some products, he said, come with warnings not to charge the device overnight. He went so far as to advise consumers to recharge some battery packs outside to reduce the risk of fire.