24-year-old Texas man killed by exploding vape pen
William Brown, a 24-year-old electrician from Fort Worth, Texas, was killed last week by an exploding vaporizer pen. His grandmother, Alice Brown, told WFAA that he purchased the device at the Smoke & Vape DZ store in the nearby town of Keller. Then he sat down in his car to use the pen and the battery exploded, slicing open his left internal carotid artery, which carries blood to the brain, neck and face.
"He popped it and it exploded, and that’s when it shot across his mouth," Alice Brown told the TV station. She said that the battery melted plastic in her car and launched debris into her grandson's face and neck, leaving her car covered with blood. After the blast, William managed to crawl out of the car and collapsed on the pavement.
A witness called an ambulance, and the 24-year-old was rushed to the hospital. He died two days later. According to the medical examiner's report, the cause of death was penetrating trauma from an exploding vaporizer pen.
"When they X-rayed him, they found the stem, the metal embedded to where the blood flows up to the brain," stated Brown. "I miss him already, and knowing he won’t open that door and come through it ever again is the hardest part."
The grandmother told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that William was not a regular smoker. Rather, he suffered from asthma, and had been told a certain vape pen could provide relief from the symptoms. In two weeks, he was planning to celebrate his 25th birthday.
"It just hurts so bad," she told the newspaper. "Now he’ll never see that birthday. It’s a waste of the thing he could have accomplished. It just all seems so unreal. He was running around doing his thing at 24 and now he’s gone."
Meanwhile, a Smoke & Vape DZ employee claims to have witnessed the incident, and told the Dallas Morning News that the vaporizer was not purchased at their store.
William Brown is at least the second person in the United States to be killed by an exploding e-cigarette, according to the Star-Telegram. Last May, an exploding vape pen killed 38-year-old Tallmadge D’Elia from St. Petersburg, Florida. The blast hurled fragments into his head and started a fire that burned 80% of his body, according to the autopsy. The medical report listed the cause of death as "projectile wound of the head."
According to US Fire Administration statistics from 2017, 133 acute injuries from e-cigarettes, vaporizers and similar devices were reported between 2009 and 2016. Of those injuries, 38 (29%) were severe, and there were no reported deaths. 121 of the incidents (62%) occurred when the devise was being used or stored in a pocket.
Funeral services for William Brown are scheduled for later this week. His grandmother told the Star-Telegram that after graduating from high school, he became a licensed electrician to follow in his father's footsteps. In his spare time, he fixing up his old Mazda RX8.