E-Cigarette Charger Explodes, Causes House Fire

Thursday, July 3rd 2014, 7:44 pm
By: News 9

Scary moments for one metro family Thursday morning when their back bedroom quickly caught fire after an e-cigarette charger exploded.

Thankfully, the mother and daughter were able to escape.

It's happening across the country and has happened several times in Oklahoma, including the latest fire that broke out just before 2 a.m. Thursday inside the back room of a home on Leaning Elm Road near May Avenue and Hefner Road.

"You don't believe it until you pull up to see what's going on, but everybody's fine," Richard Zahn's family was in the home at the time.

Zahn said his daughter-in-law was asleep when a fire started near her bed coming from her e-cigarette charger. Flames took over the entire bedroom and swept through the hallway and attic.

"It grew really fast, and that's all she kept stressing is how fast it did go," Oklahoma City Fire District Chief Chad Everett said.

7/3/2014 Related Story: E-Cigarette Charger Sparks OKC Home Fire; Woman Burned

The woman tried to put the fire out herself but had to grab her daughter and leave, suffering a burned hand in the process.

The fire brings more attention to how improper charging of an e-cigarette can spark fires.

"There's no more risk than any other battery-operated device," David Kapple is the manager of Get Vaped and Vice President of the National Vapors Club.

Kapple said although e-cigs have a common USB port, if you charge it inside the wrong port like in a laptop, desktop computer, Xbox or with a cell phone charger, it can overheat your battery and cause it to fail or burn up.

"The output voltage on the phone charger is two amps, whereas on the charger for an e-cig, it's 500 milli-amps or 0.5 amps," said Kapple. "If you use anything other than the proper charger your mod came with, it's wrong."

If you ever have any questions about what type of charger to use, Kapple suggested just going to your nearest Vape shop, and there are more than 300 in Oklahoma alone.

Zahn said, in the meantime, his daughter-in-law and her 16-year-old daughter will stay with him. He said the house fire came at the worst possible time as his son is currently in the hospital being treated for a stomach disease.