A British woman is recovering from severe burn injuries after her e-cigarette exploded in her pocket as she was driving home from work.
Ellie Petty, a 32-year-old IT worker told The Sun that she was driving home to Salisbury on the A303 when “the battery exploded like a gas torch” inside the pocket of her pants. She told The Sun that she was driving 70 mph in the vicinity of Andover, Hants at the time.
“I absolutely thought I was going to die – it was a horrific experience,” Ms. Petty told The Sun. “I was on my hands-free kit talking to (partner) Samantha when it happened – the battery just exploded.”
Ms. Petty said she could feel the flames engulf her side as her clothes caught on fire.
Fortunately Ms. Petty was able to bring her car to a stop on the shoulder of the highway.
She is now undergoing treatment for third-degree burn injuries to her thigh and will have follow-up treatments in the future. Her hands were also badly burned because they were all she had to beat back the flames.
She told The Sun that her burns are “quite gruesome … like something out of a horror film.”
The flaming e-cigarette battery also burned a hole through the floor of her car.
Ms. Petty told The Sun that she wasn’t aware of the inherent risks posed by the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power e-cigarettes. Although industry experts warn that e-cigarette batteries should not be stored loose in pockets due to the risk of short circuiting should they contact coins and other metal objects, Ms. Petty says she didn’t know about the danger until her own incident.
“I just want to make sure that people know that they should never be left loose. They should be kept in a case, rather than left on their own in a drawer at home,” she told The Sun.
Burn injuries from exploding e-cigarettes and their batteries are becoming more common as e-cigarettes soar in popularity around the world. Recently in Arizona, a 20-year-old woman was severely injured when her e-cigarette exploded in her lap as she was driving on a Tempe road. The incident severely burned her and caused her to crash her truck. She was injured further when she escaped the truck, fell to the ground, and got run over by her idling truck.