E-Cigarette Explosion Linked To Death Of Florida Man

A Florida man using an electronic cigarette was killed by a projectile wound to his head, after the device overheated and exploded, according to recent media reports. 

Tallmadge D’Elia, 38, was found dead earlier this month by first responders in his St. Petersburg, Florida home. CNN reports that officials found D’Elia with several burn wounds to his top lip area, and other areas to his upper torso, from an e-cigarette explosion.

On Tuesday, the Pinellas County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the cause of death as a projectile wound to the head. The projectile was confirmed to have been part of the nearby exploded e-cigarette, and D’Elia’s death has been ruled accidental.

Did You Know?

Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled

Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.

Learn More

Vaping with electronic tobacco devices has increased in popularity in recent years, but serious safety concerns have emerged about the risk of e-cigarette explosions and fires linked to lithium ion batteries used by manufacturers.

The American Burn Association and the U.S. Fire Administration have received hundreds of e-cigarette fire and explosion incidents in the United States from 2009 through 2016.

The FDA warns that the true rate of injuries is under reported, because typically the incidents of e-cigarette injuries, burns and explosions are only reported to federal agencies after media outlets publicize the incidents. FDA researchers believe many consumers do not report explosions or overheating incidents, due to either lack of injury or understanding about the importance of informing regulators about the problem.

Reports indicate the explosions are caused by the lithium ion batteries used to power the vaping and e-cigarette devices. Lithium ion batteries, first developed in the 1970s, are small, rechargeable, and long-lasting. Some say they are part of the reason high-end wireless technology can do all that it can do. However, the chemicals used in the battery are often highly flammable.

If the battery is manufactured correctly, handled correctly and integrated into the devices correctly, they work fine. However, if one of those processes fails, the results can be an explosion or fire. The overwhelming majority of adverse events have linked lithium ion battery problems to faulty manufacturing processes, where the batteries are made without a high degree of quality control.

Lithium ion battery explosions can occur because of short circuits, or when the materials inside the battery ignite due to a chemical process called thermal runaway. These events usually occur due to damage to the battery, recharging the battery too fast, using after-market chargers, improper disposal, high heat, or placing the device in a pocket with other metal items.

In May 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) banned all forms of electronic smoking devices such as e-cigarettes and vape pens from checked baggage on aircraft, and e-cigarette devices and batteries may not be charged aboard any aircraft. The rule was finalized by the agency following several recent reports of e-cigarettes catching on fire inside of checked luggage.

A number of lawsuits have been filed against electronic cigarette manufacturers by plaintiffs who say they were injured, and often disfigured, by  electronic cigarette explosions.


"*" indicates required fields

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories

Bard Argues Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Previously Selected for Bellwether Trials Are No Longer
Bard Argues Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Previously Selected for Bellwether Trials Are No Longer "Representative" (Posted today)

Bard claims two cases selected for the third and fourth bellwether trials are no longer representative of the litigation due to the plaintiffs' worsening injuries and need for additional surgeries due to their failed hernia mesh products.