Man, 37, Left With Third-Degree Burns After Vape Pen Explodes
A dad has spoken out after a vape pen exploded and left him with third-degree burns.
Richard Bingham said it was like 'a bomb going off' in his pocket when his e-cigarette blew through his trousers.
Fortunately for the 37-year-old, however, he was working at Whittington Hospital in Upper Holloway, north London, when the pen ignited, and was quickly rushed to the A&E department.
Speaking about his traumatic experience, Mr Bingham said: "I could hear a hissing and popping and I was looking around asking what it was.
"Then it stopped and all of a sudden I felt this heat in my pocket and I knew straight away what was happening.
"I was trying to get my vape out of my pocket, but it was burning my hand so I couldn't get it out.
"Everyone was helping me as I was trying to get my boots undone so I could get my trousers off but it was too late - I was already badly burnt."
As a result of the explosion, Mr Bingham was left with third-degree burns on his left leg and blistering to his hand where he'd tried to pull the vape out of his pocket.
According to fire investigators, it's thought the keys in his pocket may have caused the vape's battery to short-circuit.
Mr Bingham now wants to make sure other people don't go through what he did and has joined forces with the London Fire Brigade to prevent further accidents.
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Mr Bingham has backed an Office for Product and Safety Standards campaign warning of the potential dangers of vape pens.
He said: "It all happened so quickly, but I have never felt pain like it. I can laugh about it now but I've never been so scared - it was like a bomb going off in my pocket."
Ironically, Mr Bingham's girlfriend works in a vape shop, but he wasn't aware that coming into contact with metal items could lead to them exploding.
He said: "I've been vaping for about four years and have seen videos of them exploding, but you just don't expect it to go off like that.
"I must have been lucky as I've always had change or keys in my pocket - I just don't think people are aware of the dangers."
And though the London Fire says it has attended relatively few incidents involving vape pens, officers have concerns about the near misses that haven't been reported.
The Brigade's Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Charlie Pugsley, said: "Compared to the number of fires we see caused by cigarettes, vaping could be seen as a much safer option.
"However, we are concerned that there are often cases such as Richard's where the batteries have short-circuited and gone out but there is a very real potential of them starting a serious fire.
"If you are using vaping products it's vital you only use the charger it was supplied with and never overcharge it."
Featured Image Credit: London Fire Brigade
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