Vape explosions: ‘I don’t want to blow up’

Josh Bumgarner showed us what is left of his front teeth after an explosion while vaping.

Bumgarner said he believes the explosion happened because he put a friend’s vape pen together the wrong way.

“The button was on the bottom of it and I went to push the button and when I did, and put it into my mouth and started to inhale, I felt it get really hot,” said Bumgarner. “I couldn’t get it away from my mouth fast enough and I heard a loud explosion.”

The United States Fire Administration reviewed 195 reports of E-cigarette-related fires and explosions from 2009 to 2016. It found that the lithium-ion batteries create a “new and unique hazard” because they are more prone to explode.

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Bumgarner’s wife said she will never forget seeing him just seconds after the explosion.

“He was able to get up and run from one end of the house to the other, and then just collapsed,” said Tiffany Bumgarner.

At Vaporhaus in Moraine, customers who use E-cigarettes told us that they are aware of the dangers and do take precautions.

“I don’t use unregulated devices because they kind of scare me, to be honest. I don’t want to blow up," said Kaila Ritter of Dayton.

“We always put them on top of a cool counter if we are charging them and keep them out of the way if something were to catch fire,” said Steve Jaques of Kettering.

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Vaporhaus manager Tynan Hull said safety is their number one concern. To avoid an explosion, he suggests making sure you use the correct battery with the proper charger, avoid using the vape in extreme heat and cold, and making sure the battery wrap is not damaged.

“Pay attention to them. You don’t want to carry them in your pocket. We sell carrying cases for a reason,” said Hull. “I highly recommend not building your own device unless you absolutely know what you are doing.”

The FDA is asking manufacturers to submit plans to prevent youth vaping. It’s estimated that more than 2 million high school, middle school and college students use the devices. The agency is running an aggressive ad campaign to steer young people away from vaping, but there are advocates like Ritter, a former smoker.

Credit: Photo Illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Credit: Photo Illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

“When I started vaping I haven’t had to take my inhaler as much. I can breathe now,” said Ritter, who suffers from asthma.

The American Vaping Association said tragic events have been rare, but earlier this year a vape pen explosion in Florida led to a man’s death. The medical examiner said the victim suffered burns on 80 percent of his body.

Josh Bumgarner is thankful that he was not more seriously injured. He said he will never vape again for his own safety and that of his children.

“I swore off the vapes,” said Bumgarner. “I decided if I was going to do anything, I’d smoke cigarettes. I know there’s a health risk there, but I’ve never had one blow up in my face.”

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