A Teynham man has been speaking about his shock after an e-cigarette exploded in his home after it was charged incorrectly. Following this latest incident, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is once again reminding e-cigarette smokers of the dangers of using incorrect chargers.
Mark Stockdale was charging the device in his children's bedroom and said: "I can't believe how lucky I was, it had only been on charge about 10 minutes, when I heard a swooshing noise, the next minute it exploded in my hand, shooting flames across the room, setting the bedding alight.
"I dread to think what could have happened if I'd left it charging and gone out or if we’d been asleep. It could've killed us and gutted our home."
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) was called to the bungalow in London Road last Friday afternoon, (9 January) just after 2.30pm and found the fire was already out. Firefighters treated Mark for burns to his fingers and palm until paramedics arrived.
KFRS Community Safety Manager, Charlie Smith has this advice: "If your New Year's resolution is to quit smoking and you're using an e-cigarette to help you, please make sure you know how to charge it safely."
The warning comes a month after a house fire in Sheerness was thought to have been started by an e-cigarette being charged incorrectly. On that occasion, the blaze caused severe damage to a bedroom and extensive smoke damage to the upstairs of a home in Alexandra Road.
Charlie added: "You might save a few pounds if you buy cheap or incompatible chargers but is it really worth putting your family or home at risk? If your e-cigarette doesn't come with a charger, please don't assume that your USB cables can be transferred between devices. Chargers for mobile phones are often more powerful, so can overheat"
KFRS and Kent Trading Standards have developed a leaflet with safety advice and are working together with businesses selling e-cigarettes and mobile phone chargers to help people understand the dangers of using fake or incorrect chargers.
Mark Rolfe from KCC Trading Standards added: "There are serious problems with e-cigarette chargers and also cheap and counterfeit mobile phone chargers. Some of them have caused fires and even deaths. For advice and to report issues to KCC Trading Standards contact Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06."
Please watch this short video about what happened to Mark Stockdale when his e-cigarette exploded.
Please follow these safety tips when charging e-cigarettes:
Check your smoke alarm every week
Only use the charger supplied with your e-cigarette
If no charger is supplied check with the manufacturer for a list of approved chargers
Read the instructions on how to clean the battery centre pin and charger contact
Stop charging once it has been fully charged
Don’t leave it charging overnight, unattended or charging on flammable surfaces such as a bed or sofa
Don’t over-tighten the battery – especially when charging