Boom! E-cig battery explodes in woman’s purse inside NJ mall
An Old Bridge woman claims her e-cigarette device battery exploded and caught fire — and the incident was captured on security video at the Freehold Raceway Mall
Mara McInerney told News 12 New Jersey that when she heard the bang as she stood at a counter in the Sunglass Hut store on the mall's second floor, she thought it was part of an attack on the mall. The incident happened on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“I had the battery in this pocket by itself and what it did was it exploded through the pocket,” McInerney says. "It charred every single thing, melted every single thing that I had in the bag.”
Video shows black smoke coming out of the purse and the cashier lifting the bag to floor. The contents of the bag were dumped on the ground. The battery was blackened.
A 2014 report by the U.S. Fire Administration said that 25 fires or explosions caused by e-cigarettes were reported by the U.S. media between 2009 and August 2014, most of which occurred while the battery was charging.
The report recommended to "always use the charging appliance that comes with the (vaping) unit and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Plugging an e-cigarette into a 'standard' USB port to recharge may result in an explosion and/or fire."
"The shape and construction of e-cigarettes can make them more likely than other products with lithium-ion batteries to behave like “flaming rockets” when a battery fails," said the report.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.