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E-cigarette blamed for mattress fire

By Jonathan Petramala, Weekend Evening Anchor/Reporter, jonathan.petramala@krdo.com
Published On: Nov 28 2013 11:14:38 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 28 2013 11:16:55 PM CST

A local college student says a charging e-cigarette exploded, causing a fire.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Playing video games in his basement, Thor Hacker said he heard a strange noise upstairs so he went to investigate.

“There’s smoke pouring out of the room, smoke alarms are all going crazy.  I walk in here, the beds on fire, I thought it was my girlfriend’s curling iron,” Hacker said.

Using a blanket to smother the flames before they spread, Hacker suffered burns to his arm, hands and face.  When the smoke cleared he saw that his e-cigarette that he had charging on the floor had exploded.

“It didn’t stop charging.  It’s like when you keep filling up a gas tank, it just kept going,” Hacker said.  “It just exploded and shot flames onto the bed.”

Ironically Hacker says he had just started smoking e-cigarettes because he thought they would help him quit smoking and that they were safer.

“Not when they explode and catch fire to your bed,” Hacker said.  “I’m back on normal cigarettes now.”

We contacted the maker of “Foos" e-cigarettes.  In an email, William Foos wrote that his company had never received reports of their products malfunctioning.

“We are Combat Veteran owned company and take the quality of our products very seriously and our products are manufactured with every measure of safety,” Foos wrote.

Foos added he would pay for damages “if all experts agreed” that it was his product that started the fire.

A Google search shows exploding e-cigarettes of various brands have been a problem around the country.  One report from Utah showed an e-cigarette that was in a car charger, exploded, injuring a child.  In Georgia, a woman claimed an e-cig shot flames four feet across her living room.

The FDA warns on their website that, “the safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes have not been fully studied, consumers of e-cigarette products currently have no way of knowing whether e-cigarettes are safe for their intended use, how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use, or if there are any benefits associated with using these products.”

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