Exploding e-cigarettes have been making headlines in recent years, leaving scores of people with severe burns and/or blast-related injuries. But despite all the media attention e-cigarettes are getting for their risk of explosion, some users haven’t gotten the message about the potential dangers.
On Saturday, surveillance cameras in The HDTV Outlet store in Anaheim, California, captured a moment one of the store’s customers suddenly had pants of fire due to an e-cigarette that exploded in his pocket.
In the video, the man appears to be shopping for a TV when he suddenly becomes engulfed in sparks, explosions, and flames. The man initially lunges back a few steps before hopping frantically out view.
Antelmolare Guzman, the store’s manager, told NBC Los Angeles that the incident was “intense” and left the store smelling like smoke and burned skin.
“We turn around and all we see is smoke and something caught on fire,” Mr. Guzman described the scene to NBC Los Angeles. “The gentleman, he is running out to the front of the office, and he is screaming and yelling. Apparently, all of his right leg was completely burnt all the way down.”
Mr. Guzman said that the man’s “private parts were also affected” by the e-cigarette explosion. Pictures of the man’s burn injuries published by NBC show the man’s right pants leg burned off and his skin badly charred.
As the man ran into the bathroom, the e-cigarette continued to throw flames in the showroom. “It was really scary, the explosion and the fire and with all the parts that we have–we have boxes,” Mr. Guzman told NBC. “The area that we’re in is an industrial area, so it could have easily caught fire.”
Mr. Guzman was able to extinguish the fire before it spread out of control. “The battery, I guess, exploded,” Mr. Guzman told NBC.
Despite his injuries, the customer was able to drive himself to the hospital.
Medical professionals who have treated similar e-cigarette-related burn injuries and previous e-cigarette blast victims warn e-cigarette users to avoid carrying the devices and any spare batteries in their pants pockets, especially with other metal objects such as coins or keys. In the event of a malfunction or short-circuit, the devices may cause extensive personal injury to the legs, groin and hands.