E-cig explosion kills FL man - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

E-cig explosion kills FL man

An autopsy confirmed that a man died from a vape pen exploding. (Source: Pixabay, file image) An autopsy confirmed that a man died from a vape pen exploding. (Source: Pixabay, file image)

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (RNN) - A fiery blast from a vape pen killed a man earlier this month, authorities said.

Tallmadge D'Elia, 38, died May 5 in a house fire with about 80 percent of his body burned. Injuries to his face suggested that the vape pen exploded.

Bill Pellan, director of Investigations at the Pinellas County Medical Examiner's Office, confirmed the report to WFTS.

The autopsy showed that two pieces of the vape pen became projectiles in the explosion, with the mouthpiece lodging in D'Elia's brain, WPLG reported.

Between January 2009 and December 2016,  there were 95 reported incidents of explosions and fire involving an electronic cigarette, resulting in 133 injuries, 38 of which were severe, the U.S. Fire Administration said.

Experts fault the lithium ion batteries used in e-cigarettes.

"No other consumer product places a battery with a known explosion hazard such as this in such close proximity to vital areas of the human body," the U.S. Fire Administration said. "While the failure rate of the lithium-ion batteries is very small, the consequences of a failure, as we have seen, can be severe and life-altering for the consumer." 

The FDA offers the following safety advice:

  • Use vapes with safety features, including protection against overcharging. 
  • Keep your vape covered, preventing it from contacting loose change in your pocket.
  • Charge it using the charger that came with the vape, not your phone or tablet charger.
  • Don't let your vape charged unattended or overnight.
  • Replace the batteries if they get damaged or wet.

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