One man gave new meaning to the term hot pants when his e-cigarette exploded in his pocket, setting off a fireworks-like display of bright bursts.
The man was standing behind the counter at a wine store where he worked in New York’s Grand Central Terminal when the e-cigarette ignited in his pocket, causing him to suffer leg and hand burns.
His name was not released.
The victim (top right) stands unaware that his pocket is about to explode from his e-cig
Smoke begins coming from the man’s pants as his friends make a run for it
Soon flames are shooting out of the man’s pants as the e-cigarette catches fire
Central Cellars assistant manager John Lee says it looked like fireworks exploding when the vaporizer pen suddenly blew up in the man’s pants Wednesday morning.
Surveillance video footage caught the employees scattering as the man’s pants began flashing white explosions of fire and spewing gray smoke.
‘I saw fireworks coming out of his pocket and I thought, ‘He brought fireworks to work,’ Lee told the New York Daily News.
‘He went to pull the cigarette out of his pocket and burned his hand, his nail. There were some some projectiles during the explosion – I ducked out and we all evacuated…I guess these e-cigarettes are a dangerous thing,’ Lee told NBC.
Another employee said the explosions looked like the man had fireworks in his pocket
The man was seen dancing frantically and hitting at his pocket, trying to put out the fire
He said the victim began frantically dancing around, trying to put out the flames.
‘Then I saw a projectile fly… the explosion ripped a hole in his pants,’ he said. ‘He went to take it out and his hand burned. I saw his nails burn, right down to the root.’ He added that the man’s hand was was charred and blackened.
The victim suffered third degree burns on his leg and hands, according to NBC.
Another employee, Bryon Gonzales, 26, said the exploding device took them all by surprise.
‘We were just having a conversation about the daily routine and all of a sudden his pocket caught on fire,’ he told the Daily News. ‘I jumped behind a wall because I didn’t want to get burned.’
The firemen checked out the scene and then left with the victim on a stretcher (above right)
At least 25 explosions of e-cigarettes in the US were reported between 2009 and 2014
Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Aaron Donovan says the man was taken by a private ambulance service to a hospital. He says the injuries appeared minor.
Donovan says train service at the transit hub wasn’t affected.
Electronic cigarettes and other battery-operated electronic smoking devices occasionally do catch fire. There were 25 reports of e-cigarettes exploding between 2009 and 2014, according to the US Fire Administration.
The problem with e-cigarettes seems to be their lithium battery, according to one report, which stores a great deal of energy in a small space. Eighty percent of them explode while charging.
In 2014, a man in Scotland died when his e-cig exploded near his oxygen tank, according to The Scotsman.
Last year, the federal Department of Transportation issued a rule prohibiting passengers from packing e-cigarettes in checked luggage to protect against in-flight fires.