OKLAHOMA – It happened suddenly in a Walmart parking lot in Weatherford, but the consequences will perhaps last forever.
An exploding battery, designed for an e-cigarette or ‘vaping’ device, tore through Ethan Fullerton’s denim jeans, leaving him with second- and third-degree burns on his legs and first-degree burns on his hands.
“It’s not really like a bang, like a firecracker,” he said. “It’s more like someone put a blowtorch in your pocket and lit it. It’s just a real hot fireball that heats up, gets real big and goes back down.”
Before he knew it, he was on his way to the hospital.
Weeks later, he’s still recovering from an injury that will likely leave scars for life.
“It’s been rough. Every night, you’ve gotta scrub yourself, scrape the dead skin off,” he said. “Everybody needs to be aware, because I know a lot of people that vape, and they carry the batteries in the exact same place.”
Now, Fullerton wants to fight back through a lawsuit against the Chinese company that manufactures the battery.
Lawsuits over exploding e-cigarettes and accessories have become more common recently, but Fullerton’s could be the first in Oklahoma, said attorney Dan Markoff.
“There’s no warnings on the box, there’s no warnings on the battery, there’s no package insert into the box, there’s no warnings at the vape store that were handed to Ethan,” Markoff said. “There’s nothing, nowhere, ever that says don’t keep this in your pocket, it’s dangerous. And, that’s the definition of a defective product here in the state of Oklahoma.”
Fullerton just wants to make sure what happens to him doesn’t happen to anyone else.
Markoff expects a lawsuit to be filed within a couple weeks.