WICHITA, Kan. — A man is suing a Wichita vaping shop after he says a spare battery for his e-cigarette exploded in his pants pocket.
Daniel Anderson filed a lawsuit Feb. 6 in Sedgwick County against Big E’s Vapor Shop, the Wichita Eagle reported .
Anderson was carrying the lithium ion battery, his car keys and coins in his pants pocket in February 2016, according to the lawsuit. The touching metal items caused a short to the outside of the battery, which then overheated and exploded.
The suit stated that Anderson had chemical and thermal burns to his left leg and hands from the explosion.
“It was like a flame thrower. It just ignited and was a big ball of fire,” said Dustin DeVaughn, an attorney for Anderson.
Anderson is suing both Big E’s and the battery’s distributor, VapeUSA Corp., for more than $75,000 in damages. The lawsuit alleged the companies knew or should have known that a defect makes the type of battery Anderson bought dangerous for use in e-cigarettes.
The companies also failed to warn customers of the risks, according to the lawsuit.
“Nobody thinks twice about putting a battery in their pocket,” DeVaughn said. “You have an extra one, that’s the first place it’s going to go.”
Big E’s owners said last week the company has seen the lawsuit but declined to comment. A message left by the newspaper seeking comment from VapeUSA was not returned.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that simulate traditional cigarette smoking using heated vapor. The devices have become a popular alternative to smoking since becoming available in the U.S. in 2007. Nearly 200 fires and explosions and more than 130 injuries related to e-cigarettes occurred in the U.S. between 2009 and 2016, according to a July 2017 U.S. Fire Administration report.
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com