Electronic cigarettes have become quite popular these days, and as in the case of mobile phones with exploding batteries, some faulty devices can lead to a lot of heat and negative publicity for the whole industry.
Such is the case of kitchen fitter Garry Brookes, who witnessed his van go up in smoke as he left his e-cigarette to charge on the front seat while working at a customer’s house. The Ford Transit was completely destroyed in the blaze and left the workman with £23,000-worth of damage to the van and also to his van and the customer’s front door, which has also melted due to the scorching heat.
Mr. Brookes let his battery to recharge while he went for an hour or so inside his client’s home to do some work. When he noticed smoke coming out of the vehicle he ran and noticed all his paperwork catching fire. The car charger was plugged and the back end had blown out. He tried to put out the fire with the help of his client but the efforts were in vain and the Ford Transit quickly transformed into a metallic skeleton on four wheels.
‘You wouldn’t believe the damage it caused. It melted my customer’s front door which was about six feet away from the van. I was amazed how quick it went. The next door neighbor saw what was happening and drove his expensive car off his drive, which was lucky because that would have gone up too’ told Garry Brookes to investigators. The whole incident happened in the town of Rotherham on a Friday morning.
Now Brookes, father of two, is now worried that the incident might have happened while he was at home, because he also recharged his e-cigarette there many times. He started with e-cigarettes as soon as he found out his girlfriend’s daughter was having a baby and went to the corner shop near his house to buy a £10 device. Seeing it performs OK, he went for a £39.99 model that he constantly carried around.
Desperate that his livelihood tools are in the back and the vehicle can’t be salvaged, Mr. Brookes decided to enter the burning Ford and rescue anything he could. Now he realizes he put his life in danger but it was a risk he was willing to take.
However, as we show some empathy for the poor man, we can’t avoid blaming him for leaving the e-cigarette to charge unsupervised, especially on the front seat of a vehicle exposed to direct sunlight and surrounded by paperwork.
Another thing we can’t understand is how you can leave a device to charge in the vehicle without the contact on. Most of the cars we are familiar with, don’t supply electricity to the lighter plug unless the key is in the contact, but who leaves their key in the car with such valuable equipment in the back for a whole hour?
Also, cheap car chargers are also to blame, but the same thing might have happened in the case of a phone or tablet. It’s not the e-cigarettes that are fire hazards, but rather the batteries they are fitted with. And the same lithium batteries are in almost all of our day-to-day rechargeable gizmos.