Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Florida man dies after e-cigarette explodes

Florida man dies after e-cigarette explodes

Former CNBC producer Tallmadge Wakeman D'Elia, 38, passed away earlier this month on May 5 in St. Petersburg, FL after his vape pen/e-cigarette exploded, igniting a fire in his bedroom. At least two parts of the exploding vape pen were removed from his cranium, the Pinellas County medical examiner told the Tampa Bay Times.

The Food and Drug Administration says it's not clear what causes some vape pens to explode, but it could stem from battery-related issues.

It's still unclear what caused the pen to explode, but E-cig and vape explosions are unfortunately not common, according to a recent FEMA report.

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. In this case, the autopsy noted that D'Elia was using a "mod" type e-cigarette manufactured by Smok-E Mountain. It concluded the death was accidental. The study also notes that there has also been one death recorded in the United Kingdom in an August 2014 incident in which "an e-cigarette that was being charged in a non-manufacturer approved device exploded and ignited nearby oxygen equipment".

"The combination of an electronic cigarette and a lithium-ion battery is a new and unique hazard", the report [PDF] found. "It is this intimate contact between the body and the battery that is most responsible for the severity of the injuries that have been seen".

Keep the vape pen out of direct sunlight. These include using vape devices with added safety features, replacing wet or damaged batteries, avoiding charging overnight and using only e-cigarette chargers.

Gary Wilder told ABC he refuses to sell the devices, fearing they will overheat.

A representative from Smok-E Mountain said that the problem was most likely a battery issue, or a problem with the atomizer D'Elia had in his mouth.

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