An E-Cigarette Exploded At A Home In Atlanta: What Caused Elizabeth Wilkowski’s Electronic Smoking Device To Catch Fire?

By iScience Times Staff on September 4, 2013 6:39 PM EDT

e-cig explosion
An e-cigarette, like the one pictured here, exploded at a home in Atlanta. (Photo: Reuters)

An e-cigarette exploded at a home in Atlanta, Ga., sending flames four feet across the living room. According to MSN, the e-cig exploded while its owner, Elizabeth Wilkowski, was charging it from her computer's USB port.

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"It sounded like a bomb, okay. My walls rattled ... It shook the house up. I screamed, you know? It was a real freak out moment," Wilkowski told KFOR -TV.

She added: "If I hadn't had been home, I would have lost my dogs, I would have lost my cats, I would have lost my house."

The exploding device scorched a hole in Wilkowski's couch, burned her rug and charred the cloth she used to try and extinguish the flames.

What caused the woman's e-cigarette to explode?

"Anything that's electronic and plugs into electricity, you have the potential for it catching on fire. I don't leave my dishwasher running when I leave my home," Doris Holmes, an e-cigarette retailer, told WSBTV.

The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, or TVECA, estimates there are about 3.5 million Americans who use e-cigarettes. But there have only been a few reports of the devices exploding.

The co-founder of TVECA Thomas Kiklas told The Daily Mail that after watching the video of WIlkowski, he believes she could have been using the wrong charger to charge the device. He also said Wilkowski could have overcharged the e-cig.

Business Insider agrees that the charger Wilkowski used, as seen in the video footage, is different than the one that appears online on the product's website.

A similar e-cigarette explosion occurred in 2007 in Florida. Fifty-seven-year-old Tom Holloway suffered severe injuries after his e-cig exploded in his mouth. The explosion knocked out the 57-year-old Vietnam veteran's teeth and part of his tongue, and set fire to the room, ABC News reported. Holloway's wife said the e-cigarette explosion that injured her husband sounded like a firecracker going off in the house.

Investigators blamed a faulty battery for Holloway's exploding electronic cig.

Read more from iScience Times:

E-Cigarettes Health Risks: Study Finds Latest Smoking Craze Is Just As Harmful As Actual Cigs

Menthol Cigarettes Health Risk: FDA Considering New Regulations On Minty Smokes

Cage To Quit Smoking? Ibrahim Yücel Wears Metal Mask Around Head To End Cigarette Habit [VIDEO]

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