ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A Florida man died earlier this month when an e-cigarette exploded, burning 80% of his body, the Pinellas County medical examiner's office says.
Tallmadge "Wake" D'Elia was found May 5 by firefighters, who suspected a vaping pen was the cause of death. The medical examiner's office confirmed the pen caused his death on Tuesday.
Injuries to D'Elia's face indicated his e-cigarette exploded, burning 80% of his body, according to a medical examiner's report.
Exploding e-cigarettes and pens are extremely rare, and most explosions center around the battery, but they happen enough to cause concern at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The federal agency recently put out a fact sheet with some safety recommendations:
- Never carry e-cig batteries loose in your pocket, especially where they might come into contact with coins, keys or other metal objects which can cause the battery to short out.
- Never use you phone or tablet charger. Use the charger that originally came with the device.
- Don’t charge your vape device while sleeping or leave it unattended.
- Charge it on a flat surface away from anything that can catch fire. Don’t charge it on your couch or bed.
- Always replace the batteries if they get damaged or wet.
- Always use batteries recommended for your device and don’t mix and match different brands or mix old and new batteries.
- Never alter your device or disable the safety features like fire button locks or vent holes.
- Protect your vape from extreme temperatures by not leaving it in direct sunlight or in a freezing car overnight.