A 29-year-old student living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was in a critical condition after being rushed to hospital when an e-cigarette exploded in his mouth Nov. 20.
Cordero Caples, originally from Memphis, Tennessee, suffered injuries including a shattered vertebrae, a broken neck, damage to his face and teeth when the incident occurred during his work break, WMC Action News 5 reported.
Caples’ family is concerned that the father of one, who was studying to become a personal trainer, may never walk again.
“It’s going to be a long, intensive recovery process,” said Colessia Porter, Caples’ sister, Fox 13 reported. “I ask that the City of Memphis keep us in your prayers. We need them. He needs them.”
“He has a very outgoing personality. He’s that guy that can do whatever in the world he wants to do,” she added. “He’s really, really into fitness, and he’s really good at it. That’s what he was in school to do, but with an injury like this, it puts those things in question.”
The family said Caples underwent surgery Nov. 22 to attempt to repair his spine. The hospital in Colorado Springs where he is being treated described his condition afterwards as fair.
“He's going to need 24-hour care for a while and constant monitoring from family and friends and loved ones. You know it is heart breaking, but we're going to bond together,” Porter told WMC.
The e-cigarette purchased by Caples was reportedly manufactured in China.
Mary Grace Burns, an employee at a smoking retailer in Memphis, was troubled by the pictures she saw.
“This is way too powerful to power this,” Burns told Fox 13, referring to the parts used by Caples for the vaporizer. “Way too hot of a battery. You can have a way-too-high amped battery in there or something like that could easily misfire and cause something like that. It's operator error though.”
However, she maintained her belief that e-cigarettes are safe.
“Completely, 100 percent,” she said. “As long as you get direct instruction, and you know what you're doing, and you feel comfortable enough to do it, I think it's completely safe.”
Caples does not have medical insurance, and his family is struggling to cope with the medical bills. A GoFundMe page has been established to help with the costs.