E-cigarette explosion leaves man in medically induced coma

NORTH NAPLES, Fla. – The family of a man is warning others about the dangers of electronic cigarettes.

Evan Spahlinger, 21, is in critical condition at a Miami hospital after he was badly burned Monday morning when his e-cigarette blew up.

“I was laying in bed with my 2-year-old and I heard an explosion, then I started smelling burning, smoke and fire,” said Ema Richardson, who says she found her brother on the floor.

Spahlinger was covered in soot after the e-cigarette he was smoking exploded in his face.

“I found my brother not breathing, with his whole face burned and his neck burned and trying to throw up a little or maybe he was gasping for air, so I called 911,” said Richardson.

Spahlinger was rushed to NCH Downtown Naples Hospital before he was flown to a Miami hospital for treatment. Richardson said he’s in a medically induced coma so he’s not in pain.

“They said he has internal and external burns and damage to his lungs from the explosion itself. And possibly the mouth piece went, when the cigarette exploded, it went down his throat and exploded again.”

North Collier Fire & Rescue is investigating the incident. They tell WINK News the explosion was likely caused by the lithium battery.

Richardson said her brother will never smoke e-cigarette’s again.

“He said, ‘I’m done, that’s it.’ That’s the only thing he said. Luckily I was here, it was the most traumatic experience I think of my life.”

She hopes others will learn from her brother’s story.

“We want people to know the risk and dangers. Had Evan of known, maybe he wouldn’t have chosen to smoke the electronic cigarette.”

WINK News did some digging and found several stories where batteries from e-cigarettes exploded. A jury just awarded a California woman nearly $2 million after her e-cigarette exploded and left her with serious burns.