Kevin King called it “the worst pain I’ve ever been in in my life.”
Appearing on “Today”, the North Carolina resident described on Tuesday the moment when his spare e-cigarette batteries exploded in his pants pocket, causing burns and injuries across his body.
The e-cigarette battery explosion apparently was sparked by the lithium-ion batteries contacting loose change. King was driving home in his car when …
“It just exploded,” King said, speaking to NBC News’ investigative reporter Jeff Rossen. “One minute you’re pulling up in your driveway and the next minute your pants are like crazy on fire.
“It just burned right through my pants.”
Immediately, King leaped out of the car.
The second battery “just, like, burst into flames,” King said. “The other one explodes, shrapnel in my face and everything hits me right in the eye.”
Treated at a hospital, King underwent a skin graft on his severely burned leg. If the shrapnel had struck any closer to his eye, the victimized vaper could have lost his eyesight.
King’s tale, like many others, is a cautionary one.
A U.S. Fire Administration study reported 195 situations of e-cigarette fires and explosions from 2009-16. Of those incidents, 61 occurred in pants’ pockets.
A majority of the cases could have been prevented by responsible use, industry insiders suggest.
Underwriters’ Laboratories representative Barbara Guthrie pointed to the widely publicized warning of never putting batteries in the same pocket as coins. When a connection occurs, the batteries are known to short circuit and develop what is described as a thermal runaway.
To prevent future accidents, all lithium-ion batteries should be transported with a silicone cover or in a battery box, and battery wraps should be replaced regularly vaping advocacy groups recommend.
Want to prevent an e-cigarette battery explosion? Check out this article about battery safety.