A 38-year-old Floridian man—Tallmadge D’Elia—has died in his home after a vape pen he was smoking exploded while he was using it. Firefighters were called to the scene to battle the resulting fire but Tallmadge D'Elia perished at the scene anyway. Authorities are currently awaiting results from the autopsy to check if the vape pen knocked him unconscious, where he then suffocated to death as a result of the fumes caused by the fire, or whether the sheer concussive force killed him outright.
Lieutenant Lawrence, who attended the scene as a firefighter, spoke to reporters about the potential risks of vape pens:
“They have lithium batteries in them and they can start to heat up and, if they heat up too quickly, then, the gas will ignite or explode,” he explained. “In this case, we believe that exploded.”
One neighbour who was present during the fire spoke to reporters about her experience:
“We were just hoping that nobody was home but, then, we found out that Wake was home.”
The same woman was also asked to identify Tallmadge’s body, “I do not know that you can even describe it,” she said. “They needed somebody to do it because there was nobody else around. His parents were not around so I said I would do it.”
One firefighter told reporters,
“These things are not as safe as they think they are.”
In another, similar, incident mechanic Andrew Hall had several of his teeth blown out when, in January last year, the vape pen he was using exploded while still in his mouth.
The thirty-year-old was left with seven missing teeth and third-degree burns both inside and outside his mouth. The explosion left scorch marks along his wall and shattered a nearby sink.
Exploding vape pen may have caused deadly Florida house fire, investigators say https://t.co/esbsplXf6V— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 6, 2018
In both cases mentioned, it is believed that overheating lithium batteries were responsible for the explosions. The same components also played a role in the infamous exploding Samsung Galaxy Smartphones which was a huge story last year.
Lithium batteries are often used in electronics such as laptops, phones, and vaporisers, but unless they are made from durable and sturdy materials they run the risk of overheating and, in some cases, exploding. They are also a major fire risk.