An employee at the Central Cellars wine store in New York City was badly burned when an e-cigarette exploded inside his pants pocket on Nov. 23 (video below).
Surveillance cameras inside the store filmed the horrifying moment Otis Gooding was burned on his leg and hand.
"Out of nowhere, a huge explosion came from one of my co-worker's pockets," employee Byron Gonzalez told WABC. "And it just shot at us."
John Lee, another co-worker, added: "My colleague, his pocket started engulfing in flames. There were sparks. I thought it was fireworks like Fourth of July ... I thought he had a pocket full of fireworks and then I realized that it was his electronic cigarette."
"My heart started racing," Gonzalez recalled. "And my instinct was just to find cover because it was coming towards me, it was shooting at me. My friend was panicking, and his hand was burning because he tried to take the vape pen out of his pocket, but it was fast."
The wine store is located Grand Central Terminal, but there was no interruption in train service.
"It was just sparks everywhere, and then panic, it was mayhem," Gonzalez told WPIX.
Lee stated: "We were getting ready for one of the busiest days of the year, being Thanksgiving, here for the holidays."
"He’s in the hospital right now, third degree burns," Gonzalez stated.
Gooding's lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, told WABC that his client was treated inside a local hospital's burn unit, and will need surgery.
"I think these e-cigarettes should be looked at a little bit more carefully," Lee told WPIX.
The same news station reported in September that an e-cigarette blew up inside Mara McInerney's $1,200 Louis Vuitton bag.
McInerney was checking out some sunglasses inside a mall in Old Bridge, New Jersey, when smoke suddenly appeared from her designer bag.
"First thing I heard was the bang, there was an explosion," she told WPIX. "Second thing, smoke in my face. And before I knew it, my bag was engulfed in flames. And it was the terrifying thing I ever experienced in my life. I never in a million years thought it would happen to me."
McInernery was thankful that the e-cigarette did not blow up inside her car because she keeps her bag in the back seat where her daughter sits.
The news station explained that e-cigarettes are usually powered by lithium batteries, which can catch fire and explode.