An Exploding Vape Pen Is at the Center of a Florida Man's Death

Authorities in St. Petersburg, Florida believe a vape pen may have killed a man last Saturday after it exploded in his face, according to reports in the Miami Herald.

So far, there are no specifics available about what kind of vape pen was being used when the accident occurred, but Spectrum News 9 reports that St. Petersburg Fire Rescue was called to a house on the 300 block of 19th Avenue North after a fire was called in on Saturday.

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Inside, the firefighters found smoke coming out of a second-story window and the body of 38-year-old Tallmadge D’Elia, who had multiple injuries to his face caused by an exploding vape pen.

“They [vape pens] have a lithium battery and they start to generate heat,” Lt. Steve Lawrence, a spokesperson with St. Petersburg Fire Rescue, told Spectrum News 9. “In this case, we believe that exploded.”

While authorities say the exploding vape pen caused the fire, they do not know if D’Elia was killed by the explosion or the fire at the moment. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the official cause of death.

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Exploding Vape Pens

The long-term health effects of vaping have been reported on extensively over the last few months, including a January report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine that concluded that most e-cigarette products contain and emit potentially toxic substances through first and second-hand smoke.

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Even though this would possibly be the first known death caused by an exploding vape pen in the United States, this isn’t the first time someone has been injured in a similar accident. Back in January 2017, an Idaho man lost nine teeth when his vape pen blew up in his face, and a man working in New York’s Grand Central Station suffered leg burns when his vape pen blew up in his pocket in November 2016.

While the FDA says it doesn’t know exactly what causes vape pens to explode, they agree that it’s most likely related to battery issues and recommend using a device with built-in safety features such as firing button locks, only using the charger that came with the device and never charging the device overnight. For other tips to avoid dangerous explosions, visit

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