E-Cigarette reportedly explodes, starts car fire

CALLAWAY COUNTY, Mo. - A mid-Missouri woman told ABC 17 News her car was totaled after an electronic cigarette battery reportedly burst into flames and caught her car on fire.

Callaway County resident Janie Lewis said her son woke her up early last Wednesday morning saying her car was on fire. 

"He had went to go to the bathroom and saw all the lights flashing on the car and he ran out there to check and it was on fire the whole dash and everything was melted," Lewis said.

ABC 17 News reached out to the Callaway County Fire Protection district Wednesday, but has not yet heard back.

According to Lewis, the fire department looked through her car with a thermal gun and determined the blaze was caused by an electronic cigarette.

"On Tuesday night, I replaced my electronic cigarette that was misfiring," Lewis said. "It was firing all by itself and I accidentally put it in the car.

If it would've been in my house, the inside of the house would've went up a lot faster than the car and I have three kids in there."

In 2015, the National Fire Protection Agency recorded 15 e-cig fires and explosions. Twelve of the fires sent people to get medical treatment.

And from 2009 to 2014, at least 25 fires and explosions were caused by electronic cigarettes likely caused by a failing lithium-ion battery, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. 

Lewis told ABC 17 News the incident did not stop her from using e-cigarettes, but said it made her hyper-aware.

"I'm constantly thinking now, I just put it there, it's in my purse--what if it catches fire? Or I set it on the table--what if it catches fire?" Lewis said. "And you know I'm constantly thinking now there needs to be a way out."

Lewis did not wish to tell where she bought the e-cigarette, but said she called the store to notify it of the problem. 

Most e-cig fires happened when the batteries were not charged properly, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. The administration recommends electronic cigarette users to read the user manual and make sure they do not overcharge the battery to help prevent the fires.

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