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A 24-Year-Old Man Died After An E-Cigarette Exploded In His Face

The man suffered a stroke after the exploded e-cigarette penetrated his neck, according to the medical examiner's report.

Posted on February 5, 2019, at 1:31 p.m. ET

William Brown
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William Brown

A 24-year-old man in Texas died after a vape pen exploded in his face, according to a medical examiner.

William Brown from Fort Worth was using a vape pen when it exploded, severing his left carotid artery and causing him to have a "cerebral infarction," i.e., a stroke, according to a preliminary report from the Tarrant County medical examiner's office.

He died two days later on Jan. 29 at a local hospital.

The report stated that Brown's official cause of death was "cerebral infarction and herniation due to dissection of left internal carotid artery due to penetrating trauma from exploding vaporizer pen."

According to the address mentioned in the medical examiner's report, Brown was at the Smoke and Vape DZ store in Keller when his e-cigarette exploded.

A man who answered the store's phone on Tuesday told BuzzFeed News that Brown did not purchase his e-cigarette at their store. He said he did not know which store it came from and declined to provide further information.

Brown had an asthma problem and one of his friends suggested smoking a vape pen to help him "breathe good," his grandmother, Alice Brown, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

She said that he was on his way back home from the bank on Jan. 27 when he stopped to buy an e-cigarette. He was inside his car when he popped the top off the vape pen and it exploded, she said.

The bottom "shot through his neck and lodged back there," Alice Brown said.

The doctors at the hospital told her that Brown suffered a stroke inside the car which eventually led to bleeding in his brain, the Star-Telegram reported.

She said that after the e-cigarette exploded, her grandson crawled from his car to the trunk area and collapsed on the sidewalk after which someone called for an ambulance.

Alice Brown said that an investigator on the case told her that the vape pen's battery caused the explosion. Her car was covered in her grandson's blood, she said.

Brown, who lived with his grandmother, would have turned 25 on Feb. 18.

"He had a full life going and he was a very good person," Alice Brown said. "He was running around, doing his thing at 24 years old, and now he's gone."

"I just hope, if anything, I hope it stops someone from [smoking electronic cigarettes]," she told the Star-Telegram. "I don’t know how many more people will have to die.”

A spokesperson for the Tarrant County medical examiner's office told BuzzFeed News that the investigation into Brown's death is ongoing and the office's report was still being finalized.

She said that reports of deaths due to an exploded e-cigarette were "not a common occurrence" and that it was the first such case that their office had received.

This is at least second reported death in the country caused by an exploding e-cigarette.

Last May, a 38-year-old Florida man likely became the first person in the US to die as a result of an e-cigarette explosion. Two pieces of Tallmadge D’Elia's e-cigarette device were found in his head, including one that traveled through his upper lip and into his skull. He also had burns over 80% of his body after the explosion caused a fire in his bedroom where his body was discovered.

His death was ruled an accident.

A 2017 report by the US Fire Administration found at least 195 reports of e-cigarette fire and explosion incidents in the US from January 2009 to Dec 31, 2016. No deaths were reported, but there were 133 acute injuries in 68% of the incidents. Of the 133 injuries, 38% were "severe."

CORRECTION

William Brown’s cause of death, a cerebral infarction, was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.




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