E-cigarette explodes and sparks small fire

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Many cigarette smokers are turning e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit their smoking habit. The electronic devices use vapor instead of tobacco. However, one metro woman says her e-cigarette could have killed her after it exploded and sparked a small fire in her home.

It happened about 15 minutes after Theressa Chastka plugged in her e-cigarette to charge.

“The battery shot out and hit the wall,” she said.

The damage is still visible. It charred her wall and carpet and disintegrated part of the device.

“This is where is was plugged into right here. It hit that wall and caught fire down there,” Chastka said. “There were three fires going on, and they were big, not like just a match fire.”

It is a potential serious risk e-smokers could be taking each time they vape up. We talked to experts at a local vapor store about what may have caused this. He says the two main reasons are either leaving the cigarette in the heat like a hot car or using the wrong charger.

“It can put unnecessary stress on it, and, unfortunately, you could see improper discharge or a potential explosion,” Eric Atterbery of OKC Vapes said.

Chastka didn’t buy her e-cigarette from OKC Vapes but says another distributor where she bought her device told her any charger would work. Atterbery says that is not the case.

“Typically when you’re charging an electronic cigarette, it’ll come with a specified charger,” he said.

Chastka wont be using an e-cigarette anymore to kick the habit. She says she’s better off going cold turkey.

“It’s going to hurt somebody or kill somebody,” Chastka said. “If I would have plugged it in and left, the house would have burned down.”

Chastka happened to be sitting next to the outlet where the cigarette was charging and was quickly able to grab a glass of water and put out the fire.

Atterbery also advises not to use a computer to charge cigarettes. It is safest to use a wall outlet.

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