In a recent freak accident, a woman from Atlanta said that her e-cigarette exploded, shooting four-foot flames across her living room and ultimately charring several pieces of furniture. The accident was a bizarre one that left the woman scared about the safety of using the supposedly safe device, something she purchased as a healthy alternative to regular cigarettes.
According to news reports, the woman, Elizabeth Wilkowski, says that while she was charging her electronic cigarette on her computer’s USB port she heard a loud explosion, a noise she says was much larger than a pop, something that sounded like a bomb going off. Elizabeth says that the explosion rocked the entire house and shortly thereafter flames shot out from the e-cigarette, burning her sofa and the living room rug. She was thankfully able to put out the fire by unplugging the e-cigarette from the computer before even more serious damage occurred to her house.
Though the accident might appear to be a freak event, a quick search online has revealed dozens of similar stories, many in only the last few months. Earlier this summer a couple from California filed suit against the manufacturers of an e-cigarette they say exploded in their vehicle and left the woman with second-degree burns. The couple says they were charging a VapCigs e-cigarette when a strange, noxious smell began to fill the car. Soon thereafter the battery from the cigarette began shooting flames across the car, burning the wife before the two were able to pull the car over.
Only a few weeks ago, in Phoenix, a man and his wife were awoken in the middle of the night when their Smokein T electronic cigarette caught fire while plugged into a wall outlet. The cigarette had exploded and had burnt a large area of carpet when the fire alarm’s went off, giving the couple time to extinguish the fire before any serious structural damage was done. Similar stories were reported last month out of Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Sherman, Texas.
Even more frightening was what happened to a man in Florida last year whose electronic cigarette blew up not while it was being charged, but while he was smoking it. The explosion caused severe burns across the man’s face, blew out several of his teeth and even resulted in the loss of a portion of his tongue. Emergency officials say that accident was caused by a faulty battery that exploded out of the device and flew across the room, catching the nearby wall on fire. A firefighter responding to the accident described the damage as if someone had been holding a bottle rocket in his or her mouth.
According to industry experts, there are more than 3.5 million e-cigarettes in use across the United States. Given that so many people purchase the electronic devices in an attempt to be healthy, it’s essential that the manufacturers take steps to ensure the safety of the potentially dangerous cigarettes. Though everyone is aware of the danger posed by smoking ordinary cigarettes, many people are likely unaware of just how dangerous the supposedly safer alternatives can be.