Florida is known for being in the news with ridiculous headlines that begin with “Florida Man”. The most recent addition to a long list of Florida man stories comes from an exploding vape battery. A 38-year-old man in Florida was killed when the vape battery he was using exploded, sending projectiles into his head and causing a small fire in his house. This is believed to be the first death that can be directly attributed to a vaporizer battery.
Tallmadge D’Elia was found May 5. He was found in the burning bedroom of his family’s home in St. Petersburg, according to the Tampa Bay Times. When the autopsy report was finally completed and published it blamed a vaporizer battery exploding. This was first reported by local news outlets in the Tampa Bay area.
The official cause of death from the vape battery. was listed as “projectile wound of head”. — the pen exploded into pieces, at least two of which were sent into his head, the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner said — and he suffered burns on about 80 percent of his body.
The “mod”-type pen, distributed by Smok-E Mountain, is manufactured in the Philippines, according to a company Facebook page, the Times reported. The Facebook page is not currently publicly accessible. Shoddy batteries have been known to catch on fire and blow up in many different consumer electronic products.
According to a report from the U.S. Fire Administration, there were at least 195 accidents in which an ecig battery exploded or caught fire from 2009 through 2016. The 195 accidents resulted in 133 injuries, 38 of which were severe. During the time frame the study was conducted there were no reported deaths. The explosions usually occur suddenly, the report found, “and are accompanied by loud noise, a flash of light, smoke, flames, and often vigorous ejection of the battery and other parts.”
More than half of the total incidents, 128, included fires started on nearby objects.
The report blamed the incidents on the prevalence of lithium-ion batteries in the products. “No other consumer product places a battery with a known explosion hazard such as this in such close proximity to the human body,” it said. “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.”
As a user pointed out in the comments below, there are plenty of devices with lithium ion batteries. Specifically cell phones and other consumer electronics that spend a large portion of the time being used in close proximity to the face.
A representative from Smok-E Mountain told ABC affiliate WFTS that it believed the problem to be an issue with the device’s atomizer or battery, and not the device itself.