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E-cigarette In Man’s Pocket Explodes

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An e-cigarette that a man had in his pocket suddenly exploded, causing serious burn injuries, the victim’s lawyer confirmed.

Otis Gooding, 31, an employee of a New York City wine store, was standing behind the counter and talking to some co-workers when the e-cigarette blew up without warning. The explosion burned Gooding’s legs, thighs and hand, attorney Sanford Rubenstein said.

Security footage from a camera in the store shows Gooding jumping as sparks begin shooting out of his pants pocket. Smoke begins billowing around his as he tries to remove the e-cigarette from his pants, CNN reports.

Gooding suffered third-degree burns and was admitted to the Weill Cornell Medical Center burn unit, Rubenstein said. He is set for surgery.

No one else in the shop was injured by the accident, although co-workers who were with Gooding admitted to being “shaken up” by the incident. John Lee, a fellow employee at Central Cellars Wine and Spirits in Grand Central Terminal said he ran to hide behind a pillar when the sparks started going off.

Lee related, “Unfortunately there was nothing we could do but call the police. Otis ran water on himself till the paramedics came. I was traumatized to see someone hurt that way.”

Lee added that Gooding’s device had been customized. A former e-cigarette smoker himself, he said,

I’ve never seen one that has so much power; it’s aftermarket-customized so you can change the voltage for high performances.

Cases of exploding e-cigarettes have been on the rise this year. In May, one of the devices exploded in a young man’s face in New York, tearing a whole in his tongue, knocking out teeth and burning his hands severely.

In Alabama, a teenager suffered burns after a classmate’s e-cigarette blew up and launched a hot battery into his face. In February, footage from a gas station showed a man’s leg covered in flames from another e-cigarette detonation.

Gooding is in a lot of pain, Rubenstein said. His next step will be to take legal action against the manufacturer of his e-cigarette, once the company has been identified.

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