Woman burned in bizarre bat­tery ex­plo­sion

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CARL HAMIL­TON

ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

— A woman suf­fered burns to her body Wed­nes­day when a spare bat­tery to an elec­tronic cig­a­rette ex­ploded inside her pocket while she was parked at the Perry Point Vet­er­ans Ad­min­is­tra­tion Med­i­cal Cen­ter, ac­cord­ing to the Mary­land State Fire Mar­shal’s Of­fice.

A Delaware State Police he­li­copter flew the woman to Chris­tiana Hos­pi­tal, where she was treated for first-de­gree and sec­ond­de­gree burns to her right thigh and torso, fire of­fi­cials said, adding that some of the burns reached as high as her armpits.

In­for­ma­tion on her med­i­cal con­di­tion was un­avail­able as of late Thurs­day af­ter­noon. First-de­gree burns, some­times called su­per­fi­cial burns, af­fect the top layer of skin while sec­ond-de­gree burns af­fect the next layer of skin, which will blis­ter and bub­ble. (Third­de­gree burns, the worst, cause deep tis­sue dam­age.)

The vape-re­lated ex­plo­sion oc­curred about 9:30 a.m. while the 38-year-old woman was inside a parked car out­side of Build­ing 19, re­ported Sr. Deputy State Fire Mar­shal Oliver Alkire.

“It wasn’t the ac­tual eci­garette that ex­ploded. She wasn’t puff­ing on it,” Alkire qual­i­fied, be­fore ex­plain­ing,

PERRY POINT

“It was a spare lithium ion bat­tery that she had in her pants pocket that ex­ploded. The right pants pocket of her jeans burst into flames.”

In­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve that the spare e-

cig­a­rette bat­tery ex­ploded after it came in contact with other items inside her pants pocket and re­acted, ac­cord­ing to Alkire.

“She had keys and a cell phone in the same pocket she had the spare bat­tery. We sur­mise that the (items) came in contact with each other in some com­bi­na­tion and caused a pos­i­tive con­nec­tion, which caused the ex­plo­sion,” Alkire out­lined.

This marks the first time that Alkire has

han­dled a case in which an elec­tronic-cig­a­rette bat­tery ex­ploded while not in use, he said. There have been some Mary­land cases in which ex­plo­sions oc­curred while a per­son was smok­ing an e-cig­a­rette, how­ever, he added.

“We’ve had them across the state, elec­tronic cig­a­rettes ex­plod­ing in the face of the per­son us­ing the de­vice,” Alkire said, adding the rea­sons in­clude user er­ror and

the use of a “knock­off” e-cig­a­rette brand that is in­fe­rior to the name brands and, there­fore, more sus­cep­ti­ble to mal­func­tions.

The woman was able to get help after the ex­plo­sion, prompt­ing Perry Point Fire Depart­ment fire­fight­ers and paramedics to re­spond, as well as paramedics with the Ce­cil County Depart­ment of Emer­gency Ser­vices, re­ported Alkire.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

A com­mer­cial real es­tate de­vel­oper hopes to turn the cur­rent site of Tim’s Used Tires on Pu­laski High­way into a shop­ping cen­ter.

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