TV Producer Dies After E-Cigarette Explodes, Lodges in His Skull

E-cigarette also known as a vape pen

PETERSBURG — An exploding vape pen launched a projectile into the head of a 38-year-old man earlier this month, fatally wounding him, according to the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner.

In an autopsy report seen by ABC Action News, examiners explained that the e-cigarette made a "projectile wound" in D'Elia's skull, becoming lodged in his brain.

Tallmadge Wakeman D'Elia, who went by Wake, died on May 5 in St. Petersburg, Florida after his vape pen ignited a fire in the upstairs bedroom of his family's home.

FEMA recently reported that there were nearly 200 incidents involving exploding vape pens between 2000 and 2016, but D'Elia is the first person in the USA to die as a effect.

The man was also burned over 80 percent of his body. The death was ruled an accident.

Between January 2009 and December 2016, there were 95 reported incidents of explosions and fire involving an electronic cigarette, resulting in 133 injuries, 38 of which were severe, the U.S. Fire Administration said.

The Smok-E Mountain Mech Works vaping device, which is made in The Philippines, is an unregulated mechanical e-cigarette.

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The vape pen was manufactured by Smok-E Mountain and is a "mod" type, according to the report.

A similar issue happened a year later in Idaho with a father losing nine teeth and suffering second-degree burns after a vape pen exploded in his mouth.

"Lithium ion batteries fail in other devices as well, but in a laptop, it's on your lap", he said.

Though such incidents are rare, this isn't the first time a spontaneous e-cigarette explosion has raised concerns.

"Make sure that you use the charger that comes with the battery, and make sure the charger has a shutoff device, an automatic shutoff device, so it's not overcharged". D'Elia was apparently using a higher wattage vaping pen that came packaged with a more powerful battery.

And a vape pen exploded in a man's trousers in 2016 in New York, NBC4 reported.

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