A fire department in England has released stark footage of an e-cigarette publicly exploding in a man’s pocket without warning. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) uploaded a video Wednesday of a man in a Leeds pharmacy minding his own business near a stroller, when what looks like the grand finale of a fireworks display kicks off in his coat.
It’s bizarre, it’s scary, and as WYFRS points out, it could happen to anyone. The man in the incident, which took place September 19, had spare lithium-ion batteries in his pocket alongside the device. Investigators speculate that one of them may have come into contact with another metal item, causing the cell to short circuit. It’s the sort of mistake anyone could make.
“This footage clearly shows the dangers of storing batteries alongside any metal objects, be it keys, coins, or even your phone if it has a metal case,” fire investigator Jamie Lister said in a statement. “We really want the public to understand the risks which can be easily avoided. There does not need to be a fault with the battery, the problem is the incorrect storage of the batteries.”
Unfortunately, the man did not come out of the incident unscathed. He needed medical attention and came away with slight injuries.
Although the batteries were not defective, authorities are reminding people that using damaged batteries is extremely dangerous and should never be attempted. Many batteries will swell up as a safety precaution: if your smartphone or laptop has a swollen battery, do not charge it up or use it. Switch it off and take it to a professional, or hand it over to a battery recycling plant.
Still, it could be worse. Hoverboards were prone to so many battery explosions that the FAA banned them from flights. Similarly, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 suffered from a severe case of the battery gremlins, even after a costly recall was meant to fix the issue. In the end, Samsung permanently discontinued the phone out of safety fears.
Watch the e-cigarette video below: