Exploding e-cigarette leaves teen with 3rd degree burns
STROUD, Okla. - Austin Dunn has never felt pain quite like it.
And, if anything, the burning sensations on his legs and hand have worsened since an explosion literally set his pants on fire Monday morning.
"Imagine a fountain firework going off in your pocket," said Dunn, 19. "There were flames shooting out of my pocket and down my leg."
The intense, burning reaction was the product of an e-cigarette in his pocket and coins he collected as change from a drink purchase on his way to work.
When Dunn hit his thigh, he said the coins shifted in his pocket, coming into contact with the battery of the e-cigarette and igniting.
"I was wearing work gloves, so I grabbed the battery that was on fire with my work gloves, and it melted the batteries to my hand," said Dunn, his hand bandaged from the injuries. "I tried to throw the battery, and it stuck to my hand, so my hand was on fire and leg was on fire at the same time. My reaction was 'I need to get this off,' so I ripped it off, which caused a line of ripped skin down my hand, and the black part was still there."
In the end, Dunn had to have his pants cut off his body to minimize the pain.
He suffered second- and third-degree burns in the accident he never saw coming.
"I've always heard stories, and I never expected it to happen to me," he said.
Craig Majors has heard the stories, too.
As the owner of Oklahoma City's Liquid Vapor Lounge, he warns his customers about the dangers of carrying batteries and coins together.
"People who are just coming off of cigarettes and starting, they do not know the dangers," he said. "However, that has to be explained to them."
Most accidents are due to "user error," Majors said, but it can be tough for his customers to keep up with technology.
As e-cigarettes and vaping become more popular, new devices have emerged, some of which are incompatible with other, older devices.
The most important thing is to be careful with batteries of any kind, Majors said, and thinking carefully about how you're using your e-cigarettes.
Parents should make sure their children don't have access to e-cigarettes.
Under law, minors are forbidden from vaping.
Learn more about e-cigarettes below: