Electronic cigarette devices, such as vape pens, have become a routine sight in Michigan, but a growing record of fires and injuries attributed to the devices has prompted authorities to raise the alarm. A state-level fire marshal in another state told the media that the explosion of a vape pen killed one man. The marshal also highlighted another case that involved a man who suffered serious burns after his e-cigarette device blew up in his pocket.

The U.S. Fire Administration reported at least 195 incidents of e-cigarette devices exploding or starting fires between 2009 and 2016. These incidents produced 133 injuries, and 38 cases involved severe injuries.

These portable devices rely on rechargeable batteries, and the accidents arise from malfunctions within the batteries. Safety experts recommend that users of e-cigarette devices select models that have safety locks for heating buttons and vents. People should also take care to avoid placing the devices into pockets or purses with coins, keys or any metal items. Loose batteries need to be stored separately from metal objects as well. Users should only use the chargers that came with their devices and never use charging cords from other electronics. People should not leave devices unattended when they are plugged in.

Manufacturers of consumer products have a legal responsibility to produce safe equipment and warn people of potential safety hazards. A person who suffered bodily injury or property damage due to a malfunctioning vape pen might want to talk to an attorney about e-cigarette product liability. An attorney may be able to identify the manufacturer and organize evidence necessary for filing a lawsuit. With legal support, a person might improve their chances of collecting compensation to pay for damages.

Source: News 4 Jax, “Could your e-cigarette device explode?“, Francine Frazier, Dec. 4, 2018