Exploding vape pen killed Florida man, autopsy confirms

Clay Curtis
May 16, 2018

The cause of death is identified as a projectile wound to the head, Bill Pellan, director of investigations at the Pinellas County Medical Examiner's Office, said Tuesday.

The autopsy report for Tallmadge D'elia says shrapnel from his exploding vape pen killed him.

A Florida was killed when his vape pen exploded, sending projectiles into his head and causing a small fire in his house. He suffered burns to 80 percent of his body.

According to FEMA, the 38-year-old's death is the first in the United States of America to be caused by a vaping pen.

Between January 2009 and December 2016, there were 95 reported incidents of explosions and fire involving an electronic cigarette, resulting in 133 injuries, 38 of which were severe, the U.S. Fire Administration said.

According to the Food and Drug Administration the exact causes of vape pen explosions arent yet clear; however, it could stem from battery-related issues. But there were no recorded deaths in the study's period.

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Smok-E Mountain, however, told ABC its e-cigarettes do not explode, suggesting instead that the device's battery or atomizer was likely to blame. "It is this intimate contact between the body and the battery that is most responsible for the severity of the injuries that have been seen". Many electronic cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, but some owners like to use larger devices such as tank systems or "mods".

He explained: 'Any other e-cig that has a computer chip in it prevents that from happening'.

Deputy fire marshal Steven Lawrence, who attended the scene, said vape pens can "become pieces of flying debris and shrapnel".

The Smok-E Mountain Mech Works vaping device, which is made in The Philippines, is an unregulated mechanical e-cigarette.

"They're pretty problem-free, I'd definitely say", he said.

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