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Man Burned When E-Cigarette Explodes in His Pants Pocket

By Chris Jasurek

A shopper in Anaheim, California, was burned when his e-cigarette exploded in his pants pocket—and the incident was caught on videotape.

Mohamad Zayid Abdihdy, 24, was examining televisions at the HDTV Outlet store in Anaheim, when he felt something odd in his front pants pocket.

His e-cigarette first shocked him, then exploded into sparks and flame.

“Basically, it blew up in my pocket,” Abdihdy told NBC News.

Mohamad Zayid Abdihdy was checking out a TV when his e-cigarette exploded
Mohamad Zayid Abdihdy was checking out a TV when his e-cigarette exploded in his pants pocket. (Screenshot/HDTV Outlet Anaheim via Storyful)

Agdihdy yanked the flaming device out of his pocket, dropped it to the floor, and sprinted for the store’s restroom to attend to his burns.

Store Manager Antelmolare Guzman had been assisting Abdihdy. When the customer had chosen one model, Guzman went to the front desk to write up the paperwork.

He was partway through the process when he heard an explosion.

“We turn around and all we see is smoke and something caught on fire,” Guzman explained.

“The gentleman, he is running out to the front of the office, and he is screaming and yelling. Apparently, all of his right leg was completely burned all the way down. Part of his private parts were also kind of affected with the whole fire thing.”

While Abdihdy tried to treat his scorched flesh, Guzman rushed to the back of the store to extinguish the still-burning vaping device.

“It was really scary, the explosion and the fire and with all the parts that we have—we have boxes,” Guzman said. “The area that we’re in is an industrial area, so it could have easily caught fire.”

He told NBC that the air in the back of the store smellled of “burnt skin.”

Sparks fly as the electronic device scorches the skin of Abdihdy’s leg and groin
Sparks fly as the electronic device scorches the skin of Abdihdy on Aug.25, 2018. (Screenshot/HDTV Outlet Anaheim via Storyful)

‘Back to the Hookah’

Mohamad Abdihdy was painfully burned, but decided not to go to a hospital. Instead, he drove himself home, and sent his cousin to the pharmacy for some topical burn treatments.

Abdihdy, who works in a cellphone store, described the effect of his injuries: “I can’t walk on my leg, honestly. That’s how much I’m in pain.”

Abdihdy also said he was done with “vaping,” or smoking e-cigarettes. “”I’m going back to hookah,” he stated.

a man smokes an electronic cigarette i
In this April 23, 2014, photo, a man smokes an electronic cigarette in Chicago. (Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo/File)

Electrical Fires, Battery Explosions

This is not the first reported case of a vaping device exploding.

Tallmadge D’Elia, 38, of St. Petersburg, Florida, was smoking from his e-cigarette, on May 5 when the device exploded.

The explosion sent pen parts into his brain, and also set his house on fire. The Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner’s report showed that the broken bits, blasted into his head by the explosion, caused, D’Elia’s death.

A piece of luggage burst into flame at Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport on July 20. The cause was a malfunctioning e-cigarette.

“The battery caught fire, and the bag started smoking real quick,” said Transportation Security Administration Regional spokesman Mark Howell.

A New York man lost teeth and had a hole blown in his tongue when his vaporizer exploded in May 2016.

“The battery blew out—it was almost like a shotgun,” said Kenneth Barbero Jr. “It blew out and the vape went into my mouth.”

a man smokes an E-Cigarette
In this photo illustration, a man smokes an e-cigarette at the V-Revolution E-Cigarette shop in Covent Garden on Aug. 27, 2014, in London. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A 14-year-old boy was blinded when an e-cigarette he was testing exploded in a Brooklyn vape shop in April 2016.

The clerk accidentally attached the wrong battery.

“The guy was showing me different products of the vaporizers,” said eighth-grader Leor Domatov.

“While he was showing me, he connected one of the vaporizers to the battery of the store. He gave it to me to hold and when I was holding it, it exploded in my hands and my face.”

Besides burning his hands, the explosion injured Domatov’s eyes.

“In my left eye, I have a cut through the cornea and I can’t see out of it, and on my right eye, the cornea was cut halfway through and I can see a little bit,” he explained.

In New York one must be 21 to buy or handle e-cigarettes, so the shop was violating the law by letting Domatov use the device.

Sen. Charles Schumer speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington.
In this file photo, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Molly Riley/AP Photo)

Of course, the same accident could have happened to any customer regardless of age.

Sen. Chuck Schumer raised the idea of forcing a recall of exploding vaping devices in December 2016.

The senator cited an Associated Press article, which said the FDA identified about 66 explosions in 2015 and early 2016 after recording 92 explosions from 2009 to September 2015.