(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. ) — An exploding electronic cigarette caused the death of a Florida man earlier this month, an autopsy determined.
Tallmadge D’Elia, 38, died on May 5 from parts of an electronic cigarette that penetrated his head, according to the autopsy report.
His body was found inside a St. Petersburg home that was on fire, the St. Petersburg police said.
D’Elia had suffered thermal injuries to about 80 percent of his body, including his chest, shoulder, abdomen, back, arm and hand, according to the autopsy report.
The death was ruled accidental, the autopsy report said.
“This is a terrible shock,” his father, Christopher D’Elia, told ABC affiliate WFTS in Tampa Bay earlier this month. “A 38-year-old should not be gone and his mother and I are devastated.”
“Anybody who has lost a son doesn’t want anybody else to lose a child to something like this,” he said.
Christopher D’Elia, who described his son as smart and talented, said of Tallmadge D’Elia’s e-cigarette use, “I didn’t really find what he was doing attractive, and I asked him not to do it in the house because I didn’t like the odor, and he didn’t. His mother and I weren’t home, so that’s why he may have been using it inside.”
A U.S. Fire Administration report that examined incidents from 2009 to 2016 said fires or explosions from e-cigarette batteries were not common; however, the shape and construction of e-cigarettes can make them act like “flaming rockets” when the battery dies.
The report said no one had died from e-cigarette fires or explosions in the U.S. at the time the report was completed.
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