Footage of an electronic cigarette reportedly exploding in the face of a British bartender and wrecking her dress has surfaced.
Laura Baty, 18, was serving at the Buck Inn Hotel in Richmond, North Yorkshire, when she heard a bang and saw fire coming towards her, the Daily Mail reports.
“I was about to give somebody their change and I heard the bang. I could see the fire coming at me and I felt the heat as I ran away,” Baty said.
“I started crying hysterically and my arm was all black. My dress caught on fire as I ran away and I just didn't know what was happening.
“A customer came and took me in to the bathroom to calm me down. She washed down my arm which was all black and I still didn't know what had happened.”
Baty, who has worked at the hotel for nearly two years, added: “I thought the fuse-box had blown up or a firework had gone off. Everybody was just so shocked.”
The e-cigarette belonged to bartender Stewart Paterson, 21, who has been trying to quit smoking since December last year.
“I put the e-cigarette on charge in my iPad charger, which I have done countless times before. The battery was from Totally Wicked E Liquid,” he said.
“I've been using e-cigarettes since Christmas and I can really feel the difference since giving up normal cigs. I will carry on using them but not from this company.
“You just don't expect something like that to happen from such a reputable brand and I definitely won't be using them again.”
“When the battery exploded the end shot across the room and hit one punter in the stomach and left him with a red mark,” the student said, according to The Press in York.
“I just keep thinking what if this had happened while I was charging it at home. I might have been out and the damage could have been horrendous.
“When I looked back at the footage I saw how close the fireball came to Laura's head. If she was stood a couple of inches to the right she could have been badly hurt.”
Alyson Down, community safety officer at North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: “What would have happened if this occurred when no one was about?
“The advice we give is to make sure you are nearby if you are charging up any product that requires charging from the mains. A lot of people leave them unattended, but you should never do this.
“I used to charge my phone up overnight, but now I charge it before I fall asleep in case something like what happened at The Buck in Richmond.
“We strongly recommend people to not leave devices that are charging up unattended.”
Richmond fire officer and crew manager Steve Bake added: “It's very concerning. If that had happened in someone's house, it could have set curtains or furniture ablaze so there is a clearly a big risk here.
“Especially if someone has no smoke detectors. Although it made a big bang which would wake you up, you might think nothing of it and fall asleep again.”
A spokesman for the manufacturer of the battery told the York Press: “We provide clear information on websites and in electronic cigarette starter kits that explain how our batteries should be charged and cared for.
“We cannot comment on the circumstance of this particular instance or make any comment on the provenance of this battery. However, it does not appear that a dedicated electronic cigarette charger was used.
“A number of independent organisations, including the fire service, have reiterated warnings that charging lithium batteries incorrectly and failing to take necessary care of these devices can lead to catastrophic failure.”
Phil Buckle, director-general of Electrical Safety First, said: “We are becoming increasingly concerned about incidents involving e-cigarette chargers. Whilst these might be isolated incidents, we are receiving more and more reports of the chargers exploding whilst in use.”