Autopsy Reveals Exploding Vape Pen Killed Florida Man, Not House Fire

By Chris Jasurek

A Florida man was killed when his e-cigarette exploded so forcefully that pieces of it penetrated his skull.

Tallmadge D’Elia of St. Petersburg, Florida, was smoking from his e-cigarette – also known by some a “vape pen” because it looks like large pen and vaporizes liquids – when the device exploded.

The explosion sent pen parts into his brain, and also set his house on fire, Fox News reported.

The incident occurred around 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 5. D’Elia, 38, was on the second floor of his two-story home when his vape pen exploded.

Tallmadge D’elia died when his vape pen exploded. (Sun-Sentinel screenshot)
Tallmadge D’Elia died when his vape pen exploded. (Sun-Sentinel screenshot)

When firefighters arrived, they found the room filled with smoke. D’Elia was on the floor with severe facial injuries and burns over 80 percent of his body.

Firefighters could not determine the cause of death, but the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner’s report made it clear that two pieces of the smoking device had penetrated his cranium, resulting in his death.

St. Pete Fire Rescue Deputy Marshal Steven Lawrence told Fox, “We do have cases where the vape pens have exploded and they have caused fires.

“That’s one of the reasons we don’t allow them at special events or any type of indoor facilities, just because they are dangerous and hazardous.”

(Sun-Sentinel screenshot)
(Sun-Sentinel screenshot)

Harold Weeks, who works at the Purely Vapor shop, told Fox that quality vape pens very rarely explode.

“They’re pretty problem-free, I’d definitely say,” Weeks said. “If you were to build outside the specs of your battery, generally that’s when you run into problems.”

Weeks said that a lot of people are switching from smoking to vaping, because vaping does less harm to the body.

“A lot of things you get with smoking are not quite present in electronic cigarettes,” Weeks explained. “A vast majority of our clients are people who want to quit smoking,” he added.

Weeks went on to say that a lot of companies jumped into the e-cigarette business when it seemed like easy money. Not all vaping devices are built with an eye towards safety, he told Fox News.

The vape pen D’Elia was using seems to have been made in the Philippines.


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