Fire officials in Florida believe that the man that died last Saturday, May 5, in St. Petersburg, after a deadly house fire was using a vape seconds before his death. The vape pen is thought to have exploded, which caused the fire.
Last Saturday, a 38-year-old man, named Tallmadge Wakeman D’Elia, was found dead after a house fire in St. Petersburg, Florida. After investigating the area for a while, authorities claimed that the possible cause of the fire was a vape pen that exploded while the man was using it.
Deputy Marshal Lt. Steve Lawrence, one of the fire officials, explained that vape pens contain “a lithium battery and they start to generate heat. In this case, we believe that exploded.”
Although the cause of death of the man has not yet been established, D’Elia was found with several injuries to his face, according to the authorities. A neighbor to D’Elia was the one to call the firefighters.
In an interview he gave to WFTS-TV, Lt. Lawrence said about the vape that “It’s like having a … firecracker in your hand. It can explode and at that point, it can project either the pieces of the lighter itself or the vape pen. They become pieces of flying debris and shrapnel.”
If this theory proves to be true, we may have faced the first vape pen explosion death in the entire nation. However, an autopsy will reveal the true cause of death.
In a study published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, there were nearly 200 cases of vape pen explosions between 2009 and 2016, but none of these unfortunate events led to death. Nearly 30% of these vape pen explosions resulted in victims suffering severe injuries. Also, most of these “events” occurred when the device was either in use or in a pocket.
According to reports, combining a lithium-ion battery and an electronic cigarette can be a unique hazard. In the past few years, there have also been cases in which cell phones exploded and they were powered by the same type of lithium batteries.