The frightening video of an e-cigarette exploding in a man’s pocket has been making the rounds on social media and news sites over the last few days. That man is Otis Gooding of Queens who sustained severe burn injuries after an e-cigarette exploded in his pocket last week. According to a report in the New York Daily News, Gooding, who worked at a wine shop in Grand Central Terminal, he fears he will be permanently maimed by the injuries.
Horrific Explosion and Injuries
The 31-year-old Gooding told the Daily News that this was the “scariest thing that ever happened” in this life. He recounted the horror of seeing sparks and flames shooting like fireworks out of his pants. Gooding was talking to a co-worker at The Central Cellar wine shop when his Wismec Reuleaux RX200 vape device that was stashed in his pocket exploded and caught fire. He said he tried to get the device out, but it was too hot to handle. He dropped it to the ground. When police arrived, they advised Gooding to pour cold water on his thigh and hand, which were badly burned.
The incident, which was caught on the store’s video surveillance camera, soon went viral. It shows Gooding hopping around the store as he desperately tried to get rid of the flaming e-cig. Gooding says he doesn’t know yet if he will be able to use his hand or walk. He says he knows he is going to have permanent scars and that he is now suffering excruciating pain. He is scheduled to undergo skin graft surgery this week when skin from his left thigh will be removed and transplanted to the burned area.
The Danger of E-Cigarettes
So far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recorded 92 explosions or fires involving e-cigarettes and vaporizers between 2009 and 2015. There have been a number of reports in the media about explosions similar to what Gooding experienced. Many of these vaporizers have exploded in users’ hands or pockets causing severe burn injuries and scarring. In Gooding’s case, it appears that the injuries are catastrophic and may prevent him from using his affected hand and leg.
These injuries occur because of poorly-manufactured lithium-ion batteries. While manufacturers insist that consumers should take precautions such as not overcharging device or putting in a pocket with other metal objects such as keys or loose change, we’ve seen so many instances where e-cigarettes have exploded in spite of people taking these safety measures.
Victims of such injuries and defective products have legal rights. They can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of surgery and rehabilitation, permanent injuries and pain and suffering. An experienced product liability attorney will be able to advise injured victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.