CLEVELAND– A Cleveland man suffered severe second and third-degree burns after a battery for his vaping device exploded.
Nader Harb had the extra battery in his pants pocket at the time, according to a lawsuit filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court recently.
He was just starting his day at work as a butcher and setting up his equipment when the LGHG2 model battery suddenly exploded.
“There was a flash and he was on fire,” said attorney Tom Merriman, who is representing Harb, “He literally drops to the ground, rolls, puts out the fire and realizes this vape battery has exploded.”
The gruesome injury was about the size of a volleyball and required extensive treatment by burn specialists at MetroHealth Medical Center.
“This particular battery was produced by LG Chemical, which is a subsidiary of LG the appliance company, the South Korean company so this is a major company,” Merriman said. “And this is not the first time LG Chem has faced issues with their vape battery.”
There have been similar incidents and other lawsuits over the last several years, with this battery and batteries made by other companies.
According to the Associated Press, there have been about 200 fires and more than 130 injuries in the United States related to e-cigarettes since 2009.
Merriman said it’s time U.S. regulators got involved.
“This is the wild, wild west these batteries, there’s virtually no regulation, the FDA’s come up with rules focused on the health effects of vaping and the issue of whether teenagers can be vaping, but there is no regulation on the device itself or the batteries,” Merriman said.
His client is still recovering a year after the explosion, and may never be the same, but Merriman said it could’ve been worse.
“Imagine if this happened in the middle of the night, imagine if he’s asleep or there’s a family with kids, a house full of kids we could be talking about a far more serious tragedy,” Merriman said.
FOX 8 reached out to LG Chem, which is based in South Korea, but we have not heard back from the company yet.
A local retailer also named in the lawsuit had no comment.