Man vaping for the first time dies after the device explodes in his face and shrapnel severs a major artery
A man from Fort Worth, Texas, died in January after his vape pen exploded in his face, says a report from the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office. 24-year-old William Brown was at a vaporizer store in Keller when the incident took place. Alice Brown, his grandmother, said that he had just bought a vape pen and was testing it out for the first time in his car when it exploded. He died two days later at the John Peter Smith Hospital (JPS) after he crawled from his car to the trunk area where he collapsed. Alice said that she believed her grandson was trying to get help and someone saw him and dialed 911.
The medical examiner has since ruled Brown's cause of death as penetrating trauma from an exploding vaporizer pen. According to the Daily Mail, the report said that his left carotid artery was severed. Alice then said that the doctors at JPS told her that Brown has suffered a stroke inside his car and then eventually had a bleed in his brain.
The devastated grandmother said that Brown was not a regular smoker and said that he had asthma and was told that there was a certain type of vape pen that could help him out with his type of symptoms. The young man wasn't sure at that time if what he was told was even true. Regardless of this, he left his home on January 27 and went to the store and bought the pen.
Alice spoke to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as she cried thinking about her grandson's birthday coming in two weeks. She said: "It just hurts so bad. Now he’ll never see that birthday. It’s a waste of the things he could have accomplished." The grandmother also said that Brown was a licensed electrician. She said that he had a close group of friends and was working on restoring an old Mazda RX8 before his death. She said: "His friends are getting together to fix the car for him. It just all seems so unreal. He was running around doing his thing at 24 and now he’s gone."
Alice was told by an investigator in the case that the battery was the cause behind the explosion. It was a harrowing experience for her witnessing the site of the explosion. She said that the car her grandson was in was covered in his blood and that she had to go through the gruesome scene to find the destroyed pieces of the vape pen. In this mess, she managed to find the crucial piece of evidence, which was the battery showing the serial number.
She said: "That’s the important part. That’s what the investigator said he needed. ... I just hope, if anything, I hope it stops someone from (smoking electronic cigarettes). I don’t know how many more people will have to die." Brown is at least the second person who has been reportedly killed by an exploding e-cigarette in the United States.
In May last year, the authorities in Florida investigated the death of 38-year-old Tallmadge D'Elia after he suffered multiple injuries to his face. A medical examiner's report listed the man's cause of death as "projectile wound of the head". 80 percent of his body was also burned in the process.