A Calgary man is recovering from severe burns after he says an e-cigarette battery exploded in his pocket Friday night.
Terrance Johnson said he was out for dinner with his wife when a loose e-cigarette battery in his pocket shorted. He said he believes it came in contact with some loose change.
Johnson now has third-degree burns to his leg and hand.
“We had heard about the actual devices exploding but never knew the risk of the batteries,” Johnson’s wife, Rachel Rex told Global News. “We keep thinking, ‘thank God one of our kids wasn’t standing next to him’ and we want to warn people.
“It was horrific and needless to say his vaping days are over.”
“I was shocked. I feel bad about the situation,” said Allan Wong, owner of Hot Shots Vapor in northeast Calgary and president of the United Vape Retailers Association which represents vape stores in western Canada.
“I kind of knew right away what the cause of it was,” he said. “Every single situation I’ve ever read – as far as this type of scenario goes – is related to the improper handling of the battery.”
Wong said what happened to Johnson wasn’t isolated to e-cigarettes, but rather it’s a lithium battery issue.
He told Global News lithium batteries are in everything from cellphones to laptops and cordless drills. According to Wong, when the battery comes in contact with metal, it can create a short and possibly an explosion.
“The metal will create a short and the battery will do something called venting, which is trying to dissipate the stored energy in the battery in a very rapid manner. That’s what leads to the sparking and the potential explosion of the battery.
“I can’t stress this enough, that it can potentially be dangerous,” Wong added. “You have to take proper measures and proper handling procedures with batteries, all batteries.”
The battery which was used by Johnson has warnings on the manufacturer’s website to avoid carrying batteries in a pocket.
The warnings suggest extra batteries should always be carried in a plastic case when they are not in their proper device. They also say users should be mindful to avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures.