WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW
David Charlton, 52, said he began vaping about eight years ago, and had purchased an unbranded variety from a higher-end store. He had just arrived at work last month when he heard fizzing in his pants pocket, and seconds later his pants were on fire, SWNS reported.
He said the pen melted through the fabric of his pants pocket and fell onto the van seat, where it exploded.
“It went off like a rocket,” he told SWNS. “It was an almighty boom. Everybody froze.”
He said he ripped his pants off his legs, but the damage was already done.
“I’ve never felt anything like that before,” he told the news outlet. “So dangerous. It was excruciating pain. My leg was literally on fire.”
He said co-workers helped him get the flames out and insisted he go to the hospital. He was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital before being transferred to Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. Charlton said the melted fabric from his pants had to be peeled off his wounds, but he developed an infection before doctors could perform a skin graft.
While Charlton told SWNS that he’s “glad to have both legs,” his injuries are not unlike others who purchased off-market batteries or chargers. A man in Texas died after his vape pen exploded, severing his left carotid artery and damaging his skull, and another man in Florida was killed when his device exploded and sent two pieces into his head.
And a 17-year-old recently landed in a medical journey for his injuries that shattered his teeth and jaw. The FDA has warned that vape pen explosions can cause serious injury, but it notes that the exact causes of such incidents remain unclear although evidence suggests battery-related issues.
The agency, similar to Charlton, recommends the best way to avoid serious injury is to “know as much as possible about your device and how to properly handle and charge its batteries.”