A man who suffered third-degree burns after an e-cigarette exploded several times in his pocket is recovering in hospital.
Gruesome pictures show the injuries Otis Gooding, 31, of New York, sustained during the blast in Grand Central Terminal.
He was working as a clerk in a wine store when the device suddenly exploded, causing panic at one of the world’s busiest train stations.
Gooding’s lawyer Samford Reubenstein told Dailymail.com that he has in a stable condition and has already had operations on his hands.
He is surrounded by his parents and brother on the Thanksgiving holiday and is expected to undergo major skin grafting surgery on his thigh and leg on Tuesday.
Otis Gooding, 31, of New York, is recovering in in hospital with horrific burns after an e-cigarette exploded in his pocket at Grand Central Terminal
Gruesome photos show skin on his leg melted away. His hands were also charred as he frantically tried to put out the fire in his pants
Gruesome photos show skin on his leg melted away, exposing raw skin, to his charred hands that were injured as he frantically tried to put out the fire in his pants.
In one of the photos, skin is seen completely removed from a portion of his thigh exposing raw, pink membrane.
His badly burned hand also has portions of skin removed, revealing flesh on the palm of his hand and his index finger.
Another photo shows Gooding, who has a seven-year-old son, lying in his hospital bed with bandages on his right leg and right hand.
Gooding’s family are now concerned about his future. There are fears he may lose the use of his right hand and could struggle to walk
Reubenstein said Gooding is in a lot of pain and is concerned about ever being able to fully use his right hand.
His e-cigarette exploded in his pocket on Wednesday in New York’s Grand Central Terminal, setting off a fireworks-like display of bright bursts.
He was standing behind the counter at Central Cellars, the wine store where he works as a clerk, when the e-cigarette ignited in his pocket.
Surveillance video footage caught the employees scattering as the man’s pants began flashing white explosions of fire and spewing gray smoke.
‘It exploded multiple times almost like fireworks,’ Reubenstein told Dailymail.com.
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.
‘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.
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.
Gooding was admitted to hospital on Wednesday and his family is now speaking out because they do not what this to happen to anyone else, Reubenstein said.
‘This is very dangerous and the public needs to know about the dangers of e-cigarettes,’ Reubenstein told Dailymail.com.
‘The government needs to look at risks of e-cigarettes and needs to consider banning them until manufactures determine what causes them to explode and corrects the defect.’
The victim (top right) stands unaware that his pocket is about to explode from his e-cig
Smoke starts billowing from Gooding’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
Reubenstein was the only one injured in the incident at the store on Wednesday, but the lawyer said there have been about 25 reported cases of explosions in the past, ‘so this is not an isolated incident.’
Gooding, who is from Jamaica Queens and lives with his family, was disappointed to have to spend Thanksgiving in hospital on Thursday, Reubenstein said.
At this time, it is not clear how long he will be hospitalized and they are taking it day-to-day to determine if he will have more surgeries or procedures.
His family is now worried about Gooding’s future. They are particularly concerned that he could lose the use of his right hand.
The family is also worried about how he will recover after the skin grafts. There are fears he could struggle to walk in the future.
The New York City fire department is investigating the incident and the remains of the e-cigarette are in possession of the New York Police Department
Another employee said the explosions looked like the store clerk had fireworks in his pocket
Employee Bryon Gonzales, 26, said Gooding’s exploding device took them all by surprise on Wednesday.
‘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.’
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.