An e-cigarette explosion caused by a spare lithium battery left a Georgia man recovering from severe burn injuries to his leg, and his family in financial hardship.
Atlanta’s CBS 46 reports that the man, identified in a GoFundMe post as William Dodd, was at his fiancée’s mother’s house when a spare battery for his e-cigarette exploded in the front pocket of his pants.
Mr. Dodd’s fiancée, TommieLynn Jordan, told CBS 46 that she thought at first that her future husband was lighting off fireworks inside her mother’s house.
“At first I thought he had a firework in his pocket. I was like, ‘oh God, why do you light a firework in my mom’s house?'” she told CBS 46.
The e-cigarette battery blast left Mr. Dodd with third-degree burns to his left leg.
“We had to take him to a burn specialist in Cobb County where he had surgery for the first time in his life,” the couple’s GoFundMe post states. “They cleaned it really good and a week later we went back to check up and they said he would probably need another surgery on his next visit.”
She added that Mr. Dodd did not need an additional surgery but said that the problem isn’t over for them, as the burn injury has caused Mr. Dodd to lose several weeks of work, leaving them with insufficient funds to cover their bills.
E-cigarette battery explosions are not uncommon. In fact, burns caused by explosions in the front pants pocket have become the signature injury of vapers whose lithium batteries for one reason or another burst into flames.
“When we went to the hospital, they said other people came in with the same injuries, from where the batteries had blown up in their pockets,” Ms. Jordan told CBS 46.
If you’ve ever seen a video of an e-cigarette explosion, you get a sense of the amount of energy the small, rechargeable lithium batteries can hold. While some battery brands carry warnings about proper usage and storage, it’s easy for people to forget and throw a spare battery in their pocket or purse where it may contact other metal objects and short circuit, releasing its energy in the form of heat and fire.
According to CBS 46, “the man injured in the most recent accident says he didn’t have metal in his pocket,” but there are several other ways a lithium battery can overheat or explode, such as manufacturing defect, battery damage, exposure to high heat, overcharging, or charging with the wrong device, to name a few.