Exploding vape pen suspected in man's tragic death

Authorities in Florida are investigating what's believed to be the first death caused by an exploding vape pen.

A 38-year-old man has died in a house fire in Florida that authorities believe began when his vape pen exploded on Saturday.  

While others have suffered burns from exploding vape pens, authorities say Tallmadge Wakeman D'elia is the first person to die as a result. 

"It's like having a small firecracker in your hand," St Pete Fire and Rescue Lieutenant Steven Lawrence told local news service WFTS. 

"It can explode and at that point it can project either the pieces of the lighter itself or the vape pen. They become pieces of flying debris and shrapnel." 

He said the lithium battery can overheat, causing an explosion.

There were 200 reports of vapes suddenly shattering between 2000 and 2016, according to a US Fire Administration report. 

The report describes the cigarette alternatives as "flaming rockets" when they blow up due to their shape and construction. 

Authorities are investigating the shocking incident and expect to confirm the official cause of death this week.  

Published 7 May 2018 at 7:25pm, updated 7 May 2018 at 8:40pm