A surveillance camera on board a Fresno city bus caught the scary image when an e-cigarette in a passenger’s pocket erupted in a fiery explosion. According to a report on YourCentralValley.com, the passenger, a man in his 50s, suffered burn injuries to his hands and thigh. The incident occurred the afternoon of December 21, 2016. The bus driver apparently noticed one of his passengers was vaping on the bus. He told the passenger to put away his cigarette and he did. However, within moments the electronic device exploded in his pocket, sending the man to the hospital.
Number of Incidents Reported
First responders took pictures of the charred e-cigarette battery. We’ve seen a number of these images in recent months. From a club owner in France to a wine shop employee in Grand Central Station, New York City, we’ve seen frightening videos of these fiery explosions caused by e-cigarettes. The culprits are the lithium-ion batteries in the e-cigarettes.
A recent Associated Press article said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified about 66 explosions involving e-cigarettes just in 2015 and early 2016. The agency recorded 92 explosions from 2009 to September 2015. Officials believe that the number could be much higher because the incidents are underreported.
Many burn centers around the country are also reporting seeing more people injured by e-cigarette explosions. For example the UW Medicine Regional Burn Center at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle said it has seen more than 20 patients with e-cigarette-related burn injuries since it began to track them informally in October 2015.
Product Liability Issues
The lithium-ion battery explosions involving e-cigs occur because these batteries have a manufacturing defect or because they have been shoddily assembled with substandard parts. A number of these batteries are imported from China where quality control standards leave much to be desired. E-cigarette explosions, in many cases, have resulted in second- or even third-degree burn injuries. In one case the victim wasn’t even sure if he would be able to walk again. Many have required costly and painful skin-graft procedures and a number of victims have been scarred or disfigured.
Injured victims in such cases may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, cost of surgeries, scarring and disfigurement, and pain and suffering. Victims would be well advised to contact an experienced product defect lawyer who will be able to go after at-fault parties including but not limited to the manufacturer, retailer, distributor, etc.