Florida Man Dies In E-Cigarette Explosion

Cause of death: “projectile wound to the head”

(CNN) An explosion from an electronic cigarette has killed a man in St. Petersburg, Florida, according to authorities who are investigating the circumstances surrounding his death.

Tallmadge D’Elia, 38, was found dead this month after a fire alarm went off at his home and officers arrived on the scene, according to his autopsy report.

Officials found him with a wound to his top lip area and areas of burns to his body. His death has been ruled accidental.

The cause of death is identified as a projectile wound to the head, Bill Pellan, director of investigations at the Pinellas County Medical Examiner’s Office, said Tuesday.

The projectile was from a section of an e-cigarette. The autopsy noted that the e-cigarette was manufactured by Smok-E Mountain and was a “mod” type device.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that produce an aerosol by heating a liquid, usually containing nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Users inhale the aerosol.

More than one in every 10 adults has tried an e-cigarette even just one time, according to the CDC.

E-cigarettes can come in many shapes and sizes; some are made to look like regular cigarettes, while others are larger devices such as tank systems or “mods.”

The exact causes of e-cigarette explosion incidents sometimes are unclear, but evidence suggests that battery-related issues may lead to explosions, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

E-cigarettes that are similar in size and shape to traditional cigarettes come with a smaller wattage unit and therefore may not have the power to fail as dramatically, said Thomas Kiklas, chief financial officer of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association.

Larger vaporizers — such as the device found in the St. Petersburg case — come with much larger and more powerful batteries. Read the full story by Jacqueline Howard and Tina Burnside at CNN.

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