Man suffers horrific third-degree burns after vape explodes in his pocket

A man has been scarred for life with third-degree burns after his vape melted his pants and exploded “like a rocket.”

Scaffolder David Charlton, 52, had just arrived at work when he heard a fizzing noise from the left pocket of his tracksuit bottoms.

Seconds later his trousers were on fire as the vape melted through the fabric and fell onto the seat of the van — where it exploded with “an almighty boom”.

The father-of-two, who had been vaping for eight years, was rushed to hospital where medics had to peel off the melted fabric and perform skin grafts.

Charlton, from Crawcrook, England, will be scarred for life and is warning others to only buy vape kits from reputable brands.

“It went off like a rocket. It was an almighty boom. Everybody froze. There was this bizarre moment when I was stood in the middle of the yard without my pants on, because they were on fire. But the explosion was unbelievable really,” he said.

“I’ve never felt anything like that before. So dangerous. It was excruciating pain. My leg was literally on fire.”

Charlton had just arrived to work when he heard a fizzing noise at around 7 am on June 21.

Ten seconds later, the vape battery set his tracksuit bottoms on fire and melted through them, eventually falling out of his pocket onto his seat where it left a huge hole.

“It got hotter and hotter until eventually, the battery went up in flames. I was yelping, trying to put the flames out. But it was no use. The battery had melted through my tracksuit bottoms, melting the material onto my skin, which had to be peeled later, and onto the seat,” he said.

“The guys at work came over to get me out of the van — and then it exploded. For 10 minutes after, I was in a state of shock, really. I couldn’t feel anything.

“Someone gave me some trousers to put back on when someone pointed out that I needed to go to the hospital. It was when I was on my way to the hospital, with my leg up on the dashboard, that the pain really kicked in — and it was bloody painful.”

He was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he was given morphine before he was transferred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

A few days later when the wounds became infected, he was admitted to the hospital’s burns unit, and had skin grafted from the back of his left leg.

Charlton, who has been with his partner Lynn, 42, for 25 years, had been off work for three weeks and visited the hospital every other day to have the dressing changed and leg treated.

However, he said it hasn’t impaired his ability to walk and is “glad to have both legs”.

A smoker for 20 years, eight of which he’s vaped, Charlton is urging all vapers to make sure they check the source of the vape batteries they buy.

His unbranded vape was purchased from an independent high street retail outlet.

“You have to be so careful they’re not from the black market,” Charlton said.

“Thank God that it didn’t happen when I was driving at 70 miles per hour down the motorway.”

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