A MAN has died in Wallasey after his e-cigarette exploded into flames and ignited oxygen equipment he is believed to have been using, fire chiefs said.
The 62-year-old was found dead in the living room of a property on Penkett Road in Wallasey, Merseyside.
Whilst the exact cause of death is yet to be established, the subsequent fire investigation by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) found that an e-cigarette that had been charging in the bedroom exploded, caught fire and ignited the oxygen tube of an oxygen concentrator, which may have been in use by the occupier.
There was a small amount of smoke damage to the property, though the small fire in the bedroom had been extinguished by the time firefighters arrived.
An inquest will be held to determine the cause of the man’s death.
It is the ninth fire involving e-cigarettes on Merseyside alone since the turn of the year, MFRS said. It has launched a campaign to give help and advice on smoke alarms and the use of the devices and their chargers.
Area manager Myles Platt from MFRS, said: “The investigation into the cause of this fire is continuing but at this stage it is thought that the charging device being used at the time may not have been the one supplied with the e-cigarette.
“We urge people to always use electrical equipment in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and guidance, always ensure that no electrical items are left charging overnight or left unattended for a long period when being charged and do not mix parts from different e-cigarettes.
“Only use the original charger or electrical cables supplied and ensure you purchase electrical items from a reputable source.
“We understand the impact tragic incidents such as these can have on families and the wider community. Firefighters will be carrying out community reassurance visits and highlighting home fire safety in the area.”
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has expressed concern about the fire risks and potential for children to be poisoned by e-cigarettes. They advise to keep them out of reach of children, avoid charging overnight or leaving them unattended. With no regulations as yet to govern their safety, consumers should use extreme caution in buying or using them.
Last month, an explosion destroyed part of a home in Hampshire and was blamed on a charger used to power an e-cigarette. Investigators found an “unbranded” USB charger plugged into the bedroom in Ringwood and that it had overheated, causing a fire, which led to an explosion of an air horn canister.
The charger was not the one that came with the e-cigarette.
And in April, a Leicester woman reported her e-cigarette and car charger adapter exploded, melting a large chunk of the car seat.
The first service warned the battery could explode during recharging because it lacked a “safety cut-off” stopping them from overheating. Again, the charger was a different brand to the e-cigarette.
Kim Taylor, 54, said: “I opened the driver’s door and a load of black smoke came out, I was shocked.
“I looked inside the car and the back seat was alight, about a two-foot flame, so I ran back into the house and got a bowl of water and put it out.
“Luckily the car was parked up and no-one was inside at the time.”