Woman burned in bizarre battery explosion
— 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,
“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.
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