Ex-CNBC producer killed by his own vape pen: How did it happen?

A former CNBC producer died this month after his vape pen exploded, a Florida medical examiner confirmed this week.

The body of Tallmadge Wakeman D'Elia, 38, was heavily burned when St. Petersburg firefighters entered the upstairs bedroom where he died. It was later determined that the exploding e-cigarette started a blazing fire, and the item itself struck D'Elia to create a "projectile wound" in his skull.

Using an e-cigarette is "like having a small, little larger than a firecracker, in your hand," said Lt. Steven Lawrence, a deputy fire marshal in the area. "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."

While vape pen explosions are uncommon, when they do occur, the items behave like "flaming rockets," according to a recent FEMA report cited by ABC affiliate WFTS.

D'Elia's is the first known death in the United States caused by an e-cigarette.

RELATED: Celebrity deaths of 2018

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Celebrities who have died in 2018

DJ Avicii died at 28 on April 20. Read more here.

(Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for MasterCard)

"Austin Powers" actor Verne Troyer died at 49 on April 21. Read more here.

(Photo by Barry King/Getty Images)

The Cranberries lead singer Dolores ORiordan died at 46 on January 15. Read more here

(Photo by Frank Hoensch/Redferns)

"Frasier" star John Mahoney died at 77 on February 4. Read more here.

(Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)

Former "Glee" actor Mark Salling died at 35 on January 30. Read more here.

(Photo by ANDREAS BRANCH/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Former child star Jon Paul Steuer (right) died on January 1 at the age of 33. Read more here.

(Photo by Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty Images)

Comedian Marty Allen died at 95 on February 12. Read more here.

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Actor Jerry Van Dyke died on January 5 at age 86. Read more here.

(Photo by Mitch Haddad/ABC via Getty Images)

Moody Blues co-founder Ray Thomas died on January 7 at 76. Read more here.

(Photo by Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Motorhead guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke died at 67 on January 10. Read more here.

(Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)

Original Mouseketeer Doreen Tracey died at 74 on January 10. Read more here.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Bobby Zarin (left), husband of former "Real Housewives of New York" star Jill Zarin, died at 71 on January 13. Read more here.

(Photo by Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Country singer Lari White died at 52 on January 23. Read more here.

(Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)

"Storm Chasers" star Joel Taylor died at the age of 38. Read more here.

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Former NBA star Rasual Butler and former "American Idol" contestant Leah LaBelle died in a car crash on January 30. Read more here.

(Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)

The Temptations vocalist, Dennis Edwards (center), died at 74 on February 2. Read more here.

(Photo by Paul Redmond/WireImage)

"Home Improvement" actor Mickey Jones died at 76 on February 7. Read more here.

(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Actor Reg E. Cathey died at 59 in February. Read more here.

(Photo by Bruce Glikas/Getty Images)

Country singer Daryle Singletary died at 46 in early February. Read more here.

(Photo by Mindy Small/FilmMagic)

TV star Nanette Fabray died at 97 on February 22. Read more here.

(Photo by John Shearer/WireImage)

Bollywood actress Sridevi Kapoor died in late February at 54. Read more here.

(Photo by Amlan Dutta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

"MASH" star David Ogden Stiers died on March 3 at 75. Read more here.

(Photo by Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic)

Rapper Craig Mack died at 46 on March 12. Read more here.

(Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Former child star Donna Butterworth died at 62 in March. Read more here.

(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Frank Avruch (aka Bozo The Clown) died at 89 in March. Read more here.

(Photo by John Bohn/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

"Chicago Fire" actress Dushon Brown died at 49 on March 23. Read more here.

(Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images)

K-Pop singer Seo Min-woo died on March 25 at 33. Read more here.

Actress Susan Anspach died in April at 75. Read more here.

(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

Kids' TV host Chuck McCann died at 83 on April 8. Read more here.

(Photo by gotpap/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

"One Flew Over The Kuckoo's Nest" director Milos Forman died at 86 on April 13. Read more here.

(Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

"Full Metal Jacket" actor R. Lee Ermey died at 74 on April 15. Read more here.

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

"Night Court" actor Harry Anderson died at 65 on April 16. Read more here.

(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

Country musician and song-writer Randy Scruggs died at 64 on April 17. Read more here.

(Photo by Ed Rode/FilmMagic)

"Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" actress Pamela Gidley died at 52 in April. Read more here.

(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

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