A Riverview, N.B. man is speaking out about the risks of careless vaping after he was severely burned by a spare e-cigarette battery that exploded in his pocket.
“All of a sudden I just flared up, it’s like a flare went off in my pocket,” said Wayne Walker.
Walker said he was sitting at his desk at work when the pocket on his jacket where he stored his e-cigarette and spare battery suddenly burst into flames. The spare battery had exploded and left him with painful burns on his leg and abdomen.
“You just throw them in your pocket and go about your day. You don’t realize the effects it can have,” said Walker, who had quit smoking last fall and turned to vaping to help him kick the habit.
He said he was worried he might run out of power for his machine, so he threw an extra battery in his pocket along with his car keys.
That, said Moncton Fire Marshal Charles LeBlanc, was where Walker went wrong.
“As soon as you have any type of metallic surface that goes from your positive to your negative you are going to have an adverse effect with any type of battery,” LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc said it’s not just e-cigarette batteries that can catch fire. He said any lithium battery, like the ones used in computers and phones, can explode into flames if the come into contact with metal and short out.
Philippe Leger, who owns 1755 Vape shop in Dieppe, said the lithium batteries used in most vapes are especially powerful.
“Even on the label when you buy your battery it says how dangerous it is and people are not paying attention,” Leger said.
That why he said he always reminds and recommends that his customers store their spare batteries in a protective case to keep them from shorting out.
“They are just made of little rubber and then you have your plastic casing.”
Even the e-cigarettes themselves he said can overheat and cause injury if they’re not a regulated unit and said he tells people to make sure to shut the devices off when they put them in their pocket or purse.
Walker’s mishap happened in late December, so his wounds have finally healed.
But he has been left with a scar for life, which he said serves as a harsh reminder to be more careful with his vaping supplies.
“I was lucky that it was at my desk and not in my car, god knows what would have happened.”
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