An 18-year-old Orange Coast College student suffered second-degree burn injuries after e-cigarette batteries ignited in his pants pocket and started a fire. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the incident occurred the afternoon of March 22, 2016 in the college’s Costa Mesa campus. Fire officials who responded to the scene said the teen was skateboarding on campus when he suddenly saw his leg was on fire.
Another student came to his aid and put out the flames. But by then, the teen had already sustained burn injuries in his upper leg and groin area. He was transported to an area burn unit for treatment. Firefighters said the student was carrying two “significant-sized” spare batteries in his pocket along with the smoking device. Investigators are looking into what caused the batteries to ignite.
E-Cigarette Explosions and Fires
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), there were 25 e-cigarette injuries reported between 2009 and 2014. The report noted that the shape and construction of e-cigarettes make them more likely than other products with lithium-ion batteries to behave like flaming rockets when a battery fails. The Fire Administration estimated that in 2014 alone, more than 2.5 million Americans used e-cigarettes. The industry has grown dramatically since this study has been conducted, and so have the mishaps.
An e-cigarette is a fairly simple device where a heating element vaporizes the liquid solution or “juice” in the atomizing cartridge. When the batteries short out, there is a surge of heat that causes the flammable liquid to ignite or even explode. Our firm is representing one victim who suffered severe injuries when an e-cigarette exploded while in use. Another Florida man recently went into a coma after an e-cigarette exploded in his face as he was smoking it.
Usually, well-made lithium-ion batteries have a small risk of failure. However, cheaper cells that are made under substandard conditions have a much higher likelihood of having a manufacturing defect and therefore a higher chance of exploding or causing a fire. We have heard a number of reports where defective batteries and chargers or poorly made electric components in e-cigarettes have caused explosions and severe injuries.
If you have suffered burn injuries due to a defective battery, charger or smoking device, you may be eligible to receive compensation for the injuries, damages and losses you’ve suffered including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, cost of surgery, rehabilitation, permanent injuries such as scarring and disfigurement and pain and suffering. An experienced Orange County e-cigarette lawyer will be able to advice injured victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.