Man says e-cigarette battery exploded in his pocket

AUSTIN, TX (FOX 7 KTBC)- An Austin man says a battery for his device blew up in his pocket causing severe burns. 

Hamid Sadeghy is a new e-cigarette user. At the urging of his wife, he decided to quit smoking in May.

"I'm a little over a pack a day smoker and in a matter of a week I went down to one or two cigarettes a day and I was really happy," he said.

Sadeghy owns an auto glass company. On June 30th, he was installing a windshield when he says he felt a vibration coming from his pants pocket where he had an extra battery for his e-cigarette.

"It was like a firecracker. It made the same exact noise. A hissing sound and then burning sensation," Sadeghy said. "Once I pulled the pant down I saw a whole bunch of chemical all down my leg. Here, the skin was burned. I pealed it off. The side of my leg I'm sure this is the remains of the chemical on my body."

He hasn't returned to work since and has difficulty walking.

"I've really been in pain. Simple chores, getting up to go to the bathroom or get a glass of water it's an ordeal," said Sadeghy.

Attorney James Wood traced the battery to learn it is lithium ion and called the VTC5. It is made by a well-known electronics company, but is widely counterfeited. Wood believes Sadeghy's are counterfeit.

"The internet shows a lot of photographs and videos of these batteries failing causing fires and explosions with sometimes very devastating effects," said Wood.

Thomas Kiklas, co-founder of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, tells FOX 7 a battery should never be placed in one's pocket as coins and keys can easily cause it to short and overheat.

Kiklas adds, "consumers should absolutely only purchase their vaping products from reputable companies that warranty and trace all product technology."

"I think this product was placed on the market with someone knowing it posed a danger to the consumers who would eventually use it," said Wood.

"It happened to me already. I'm hoping we can prevent this from happening to other people," said Sadeghy.

Wood says if distributors are found to know that a certain product is dangerous, federal charges can be filed against them.
    

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