Florida man killed and burned by exploding vape pen

Leroy Wright
May 17, 2018

An explosion from an electronic cigarette has killed a man in St. Petersburg, Florida, according to authorities who are investigating the circumstances surrounding his death.

D'Elia, who died on May 5, also suffered burns on almost 80 percent of his body, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

D'Elia's obituary said he was a television producer and recently moved to Florida with his wife, Maria Lamberti. The death was ruled an accident.

An autopsy report says a 38-year-old St. Petersburg man was killed by an exploding vape pen.

The projectile was from a section of an e-cigarette.

According to the report, the pen he used was a "mod" type, or a modified e-cigarette created to be customizable.

In past cases where e-cigarettes have exploded or ignited, the battery is typically blamed.

More than one in every 10 adults has tried an e-cigarette even just one time, according to the CDC.

This is the first reported USA death from a malfunctioning e-cigarette - and it is not surprising news.

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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".

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has a page dedicated to e-cigarette explosion dangers.

In its official report on Electronic Cigarette Fires and Explosions, FEMA said "the shape and construction of electronic cigarettes can make them [more likely than other products with lithium-ion batteries] to behave like "flaming rockets" when a battery fails".

For example, in 2015, an e-cigarette exploded in a man's face in Naples, Florida, burning his face, chest, hands and lungs. He suffered third-degree burns.

Across the United Kingdom, e-cigarettes are causing severe burns due to unsafe batteries exploding. Some e-cigarettes have built-in batteries while others have swappable batteries which are charged on an external unit.

"We've put the caution out before", Kiklas said.

He points out the sharp increase in popularity of vaping means more people have more devices.

Wilder also said rubber casings should be used over additional batteries and batteries that appear worn should be rewrapped.

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