In the most recent addition to a slew of incidents where charging e-cigarettes have exploded while charging, fire investigators in Idaho say an e-cigarette plugged into a laptop overnight is to blame for a recent house fire.
It sounds a lot like stories we’ve heard before: Someone in the family had plugged the e-cigarette into a laptop to charge and went to bed. Luckily for the sleeping family, the smoke alarm went off in time for them to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, reports WPTV.com.
“If that smoke alarm didn’t go off, none of us would have woken up, you know, none of us would have been able to get to the door ‘cuz it would have been blocked by the flames and we would have all died,” said one of the family members who was home at the time.
Fire investigators say that when the e-cigarette reached its charging limit, it overheated and shot parts everywhere, including onto the furniture.
“It blew the end cap off and blew fragments off and on to the couch and ignited the couch in the house,” said the county fire marshal.
The more we catch wind of these stories, the more clear it becomes that the e-cigarette industry needs to make some important changes. Designing devices that can charge and then shut off when they’re full so they don’t overheat would work, but until manufacturers get around to doing that, never leave a charging e-cig unattended and unplug it as soon as it’s done charging.
Barring that, even a simple warning to consumers on the packaging would be the responsible thing to do. If my hair dryer tells me not to drop it into the bathtub full of water, surely companies can advise consumers how to safely operate their cigarettes.
We’ve got to wonder how many e-cigs have to explode before something changes. It’s to be hoped that that will happen sooner rather than later.