A 34-year-old Mission Viejo man suffered burn injuries after e-cigarette batteries exploded in his pant pocket the night of June 10, 2016. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the incident occurred at the man’s home in the 28400 block of Los Aliso Boulevard. The man told fire officials he heard what sounded like a firework go off and smelled smoke. He then realized his pocket was on fire. He suffered second-degree burn injuries and was taken to an area hospital that has a burn unit. Fire officials said the batteries had come into contact with coins that were in his pocket.
Thankfully, the fire did not spread in the apartment. The man’s wife, son and daughter, who were also in the home were uninjured. There have been other recent incidents in Orange County involving exploding e-cigarette batteries. In March, an Orange Coast College student in Costa Mesa was skateboarding with his e-cig batteries, also kept in his pant pocket, exploded and burned his leg. In January, another similar incident occurred when a 19-year-old Ladera Ranch man suffered burns. In that case, the batteries exploded when he was at a grocery store.
E-Cigarettes and Explosions
E-cigs are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which are also used to power our cell phones and computers. While they are the same type of batteries, they aren’t equal. A number of accessories for e-cigarettes are manufactured overseas particularly in China without adequate quality control or safety standards. These products are also often manufactured using substandard parts. E-cigarette explosions have become so frequent and devastating that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently banned these devices in checked baggage because they are a fire risk.
What Safety Measures Can You Take?
You cannot always protect yourself from defective products or faulty batteries. However, you can take a few simple safety measures to lower the risk of an e-cigarette-related fire or explosion:
• Know your brands and avoid counterfeits. Buy your products from a reputable source, read reviews and ask those in the know for advice.
• Charge your device only with charger and power adapter that come with the battery.
• Do not plug into computers or other USB-capable devices.
• Find a device that has a battery you have to remove from the atomizer to charge. These generally appear to be safer than the models that remain attached when charging.
• Do not overcharge the battery. Don’t leave it plugged when you are asleep or not around.
If you or a loved one has suffered burn injuries as the result of an e-cigarette explosion, please contact an experienced Orange County e-cig injury attorney who has significant experience handling similar cases involving defective products. You may be eligible to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of cosmetic surgery and pain and suffering.