Kevin King was pulling up to his family home when one of his e-cigarette batteries in his pocket exploded, setting his pants on fire.
As he rushed out of his car, the second battery exploded and a shrapnel from it hit his face.
King told Today:
“It just, like, burst into flames…It just burned right through my pants.”
He was then rushed to the hospital, where the severe burns on his legs were treated.
King needed a skin graft as a result of the severe burns on his legs.
The North Carolina man said of his injuries:
“This is the worst pain I’ve ever been in in my life.”
Doctors said the shrapnel that flew and hit his face could have caused him to be blind in one eye if it hit an inch closer, according to People.
The lithium-ion batteries apparently came into contact with some loose change in his pocket, which caused the explosion, King told Today.
The explosion even burned a hole in the floor of his car.
King isn’t the first person to suffer injuries from an e-cigarette exploding in their pocket. In fact, the U.S. Fire Administration reports that many e-cigarette fires and explosions happen when the e-cigarette is in the person’s pocket.
The report stated that out of 195 e-cigarette accidents that happened from 2009 to 2016, 61 of them happened with e-cigarettes or batteries in a person’s pocket.
Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association CEO Ray Story said that while the organization is “devastated” when it hears of instances like this happening, “millions and millions of people are using these devices and there have only been a few accidents.”
Venkat Viswanathan, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, told NBC News that products with less expensive lithium-ion cells have a greater chance of malfunctioning. This is an issue for Sean Kane, president of Safety Research & Strategies, Inc. He said:
“We’re seeing a flood of these low-cost, low-quality devices that are hurting people and we’re dealing with safety as an afterthought. We need tough standards that require good design and manufacturing practices to ensure these devices are produced safely.”
For his part, King is reportedly recovering from his injuries.