Man Dies After E-Cigarette Explodes, Autopsy Finds

A man has died after e-cigarette exploded, causing a 'projectile wound' to his head and starting a fire at his home.

Tallmadge WakemanD'Elia, from St Petersburg,Florida, died in a fire at his home which left him with 80 percent burns, according to an autopsy report seen by the Tampa Bay Times.

The autopsy also found that the vaping machine had created a wound on D'Elia's head which had managed to fire through his skull and into his brain, ABC reports.

There have been several reports of vape-pens exploding in the past, but this is believed to be the first death caused by one in the US.

Deputy fire marshal Steven Lawrence, who attended the incident told Fox6: "It's like having a small...firecracker in your hand.

"It can explode and at that point it can project either the pieces of the lighter itself or the vape pen."

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which keeps stats on e-cigarettes reported that there were 195 incidents in which e-cigs exploded or caught fire in the US between 2009 and 2016 - 38 of these resulted in injuries classed as 'severe'.

Credit: Pixabay
Credit: Pixabay

The report stated: "No other consumer product places a battery with a known explosion hazard such as this in such close proximity to the human body.

"It is this intimate contact between the body and the battery that is most responsible for the severity of the injuries that have been seen. While the failure rate of the lithium-ion batteries is very small, the consequences of a failure, as we have seen, can be severe and life-altering for the consumer."

The brand of vaping machine 38-year-old D'Elia was using is reported to be a Smok-E-Mountain Mech Works, which is described online as not coming with 'safety features', according to ABC.

A representative from Smok-E-Mountain told the news outlet that its vapes don't explode and said the fire was likely to be started because of the atomizer or a battery issue.

The spokeperson added that they have previously had issues with companies 'cloning their batteries'.

The Pinellas County's Medical Examiner ruled the death as accidental.

Sources: ABC; Tampa Bay Times

Featured Image Credit: ABC Action News

Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist at LADbible. Claire graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA in journalism. She’s previously worked at Trinity Mirror. Since joining LADbible, Claire has worked on pieces for the UOKM8? mental health campaign, the Yemen crisis, life in the Calais Jungle as well as a profile of a man who is turning himself into a cyborg.

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