JACKSON COUNTY, Ind. (Jan. 6, 2016) — A truck driver was taken to the hospital with facial injuries after his e-cigarette exploded, causing him to crash on the highway.
The crash happened Tuesday on I-65 at the Jackson and Scott County line. Sgt. Stephen Wheeles with Indiana State Police said no one else was injured when the truck ran off the road and into a guardrail.
“His injuries were sustained from this device malfunctioning and not specifically from the crash,” Wheeles said.
Wheeles said that the driver explained that the electronic cigarette he was smoking had exploded while he was driving.
“There was some charring and some pieces of the device that were scattered inside the cab,” Wheeles said.
Electronic cigarette explosions and fires have been reported across the country as the devices have increased in popularity.
A 2014 study by FEMA, however, found that “fires or explosions caused by e-cigarettes are rare,” and that most are caused by user error. The study cited just 25 such incidents between 2009 and 2014.
Shadi Khoury, who owns Indy E Cigs, told CBS4 that an explosion would more than likely be caused by the battery. E-cigarettes use rechargeable lithium ion batteries that can be dangerous if used improperly.
“You could be using the wrong battery, you could be charging it with the wrong kind of charger, so it’s hard to say if this was user error,” Khoury said.
Khoury also pointed out that the booming market has resulted in some cheap, knock-off devices that might not come from a reputable manufacturer or dealer. He suggested that anyone buying an e-cigarette make sure they do their research and work with someone who is knowledgeable about them.
“Education, making sure you have the right device, high quality batteries, (and) high quality devices are really the best way to avoid some sort of incident like that from occurring,” Khoury said. “If they think they’re doing something wrong or they’re worried that something like this could happen, I welcome you to come to any one of our stores.”
The truck driver was taken to a hospital in Louisville, where his condition was not available Wednesday. Indiana State Police are investigating the cause of the explosion.