Man warns about e-cigarette battery risk after pocket explosion in Ogden arcade

Mar 15, 2024, 10:22 PM | Updated: 10:22 pm

OGDEN — A man is warning Friday about the risk posed by e-cigarette batteries after a spare exploded in his pocket and shot across the room.

Christopher Kendall said it happened on Saturday while he was working as a security guard and greeting customers in the arcade area of Skinny Dogz.

“It was bad, it was really bad,” Kendall said. “I noticed my batteries on the floor, and I was like, ‘Wow, that actually happened.’”

It happened so fast that Kendall said he didn’t initially realize what had gone wrong.

“I heard a pop go off,” he said. “That’s when I looked down, and my pants (were) on fire.”

Kendall swatting the battery away as his pants caught on fire.

Kendall swatting the battery away as his pants caught on fire. (KSL TV)

Surveillance cameras captured the apparent explosion of one of the spare e-cigarette batteries he was carrying in his pocket.

The video showed Kendall’s pants appear to spark, and then the battery shot like a flare across the room, striking a counter as a customer jumped away.

The spare battery sparking on the ground of the arcade.

The spare battery sparking on the ground of the arcade. (KSL TV)

Workers said the customer’s pants were singed, but he appeared to have avoided any injury. Kendall, however, suffered second and third-degree burns on his leg.

“I’ve heard of them malfunctioning where they don’t charge or anything like that, but exploding?” Kendall said. “No, I have not.”

The burns on Kendall's body after the explosion.

The burns on Kendall’s body after the explosion. (KSL TV)

While explosions of e-cigarette batteries aren’t necessarily common, Kendall said he had heard of mishaps before. They are frequent enough for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to have an entire web page dedicated to a warning about them.

The batteries themselves also come with warnings on the labeling.

“To this day, I wonder, like, what caused it to happen,” Kendall said.

The remains of the exploded battery.

The remains of the exploded battery. (KSL TV)

He said he wanted to warn others who vape about the potential hazard.

“If you do vape and you have spare batteries on you, make sure they’re somewhere where it’s airable, doesn’t cause too much friction, and just keep an eye on them,” Kendall said. “I got away with second-degree burns. Someone could have gotten away worse than that.”

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Man warns about e-cigarette battery risk after pocket explosion in Ogden arcade