Story By: Michael Leidig, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
These images show the shocking burns suffered by a British man after his e-cigarette blew up in his pocket.
The victim, Graham Tooby, 48, is a British photographer and videographer who currently lives in Dubai with his wife Kathryn and their two boys, aged 3 and 6.
He had been celebrating with friends and family in the garden of his home in The Villa in Dubai and he was suddenly engulfed in blue flames after the lithium battery in his vape machine exploded.
He told local media: “My brother in law threw water over me, but because lithium batteries don’t stop until they run out of energy it kept on burning.”
He added: “There was instant pain and panic and I didn’t really know what to do because it had all happened so suddenly, it wasn’t as though the device had heated up beforehand, it literally went from zero to blue flames and loud hissing in seconds.
“Without warning fireworks were coming from my pocket and we were all just trying to stop it.”
He said when he finally managed to pull off his trousers he saw that he had a large burn the size of a mans hand at the top of his left thigh. He added that the whole incident had taken around 30 seconds but had seemed so much longer.
He said he was lucky that it missed his private parts and feared what would have happened if his pocket had been 1 inch to the right, saying jokingly that he would have had to change his name from Graham to Shirley.
He was rushed to Rashid Hospital by ambulance for emergency burns treatment and subsequently had two more surgeries at MedCare Hospital by Dr Jamali a specialist in reconstructive and plastic surgery, first of all to remove the dead tissue and infection known as a scraping and then to deal with an infection of his blood, and six weeks later he needed a skin graft from the back of his leg onto the front.
He has been unable to work for two months, and will have a permanent scar now which is it motivated him to issue a public message about the dangers of using vape machines.
He said that as well as the damage they do to lungs, the batteries were an added danger making them even worse than cigarettes. He said since the incident he had not smoked or vaped and added he was still grateful despite the injuries, because it could have been much worse if for example he had been driving on the motorway when it happened.
He said if people really want to use them they should make sure the batteries are not damaged and advises against machines where the battery can be changed by the user rather than a competent professional.
He added he was unsure if he was going to pursue compensation because it would probably need to be done on a no win no fee basis, and added it was also glad that none of the kids at the New Year’s party were near him and actually tucked up in bed when the explosion happened.
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