ORLANDO, Florida- A 14-year-old girl received mild to moderate burns after an e-cigarette exploded in a nearby college student’s pocket. The girl was riding the Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios in Orlando on Saturday.
The teen was on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride with her family when the hand-held device malfunctioned shooting a ball of flame in the air. She was taken to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for treatment, Orlando police said.
The college student fled the scene with three others, according to police and CNN affiliate WESH.
The incident “possibly injured the suspect, but the group of three fled the entire park before OPD was notified,” Sgt. Wanda Miglio of the Orlando Police Department told CNN.
Past e-cigarette incidents have left tongues, hands and thighs charred and in some cases have even burned lungs.
In February, Tom Kiklas of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association told CNN that “there have been 22 such incidents reported since 2008, when these products hit the market.”
This is a tiny number when considering the nine million Americans using e-vapor products, he said.
“It’s not so much an issue of the e-vapor product but with the lithium batteries they are using, and most are mismatched to the charger,” Kiklas told CNN. Consumers, he said, use batteries or chargers other than what’s recommended, and that can be the problem.
The explosion at the Harry Potter ride left a small burn hole in the train seat but no other significant damage, WESH reported.