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Fire marshal: E-cigarette batteries cause fires

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:08 p.m. HST, Mar 03, 2014

MEDFORD, Ore. » The lithium batteries that power the vaporizers in electronic cigarettes have caused two recent fires in Medford, and fire officials say users should be careful with the newly popular devices.

"Some of the batteries are failing in them or they are being overcharged," said Fire Marshal Greg Kleinberg.

In one case, he said, a mattress caught fire but a resident put it out.

"If he didn't do that right away, it would have been a different story. It would have been a building fire instead of just a small item on fire," Kleinberg said.

Last week, an e-cigarette exploded while being charged, sending bits of burning battery flying into the ceiling and walls, he said. One hot piece of battery landed on a pillow, causing it to smolder and filling the house with smoke.

Electronic cigarettes are making waves in the marketplace.

They heat a liquid solution to create a vapor so users can get nicotine without smoking. It's touted as a healthier alternative to inhaling the smoke from burning tobacco leaves, and perhaps a way to quit.

But public health officials are alarmed, saying e-cigarettes perpetuate addiction, and there are moves underway across the nation to increase regulations on them and keep them from minors.

Most regulated electronic devices go through safety analysis conducted by Underwriters Laboratories or another nationally recognized testing laboratory before hitting the market, but Kleinberg said that hasn't happened with electronic cigarettes.

"A lot of these devices are not really regulated right now; some of them are UL listed and some are not. Some aren't tested at all," he said.

He had two pieces of advice for users: "Just unplug it when you go to bed. Make sure you have a working smoke alarm."

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blkdrgn wrote:
Lithium batteries are in a lot of products that also have been known to explode, ex. cell phones, RC-cars, cars, etc. Articles like these write it in a way that sounds like only that product has that problem.
on March 3,2014 | 12:03PM
loquaciousone wrote:
What about the one that exploded in that guys mouth and changed him into the Cyclops.
on March 3,2014 | 12:04PM
kekelaward wrote:
So do Tesla batteries, but I guess since only the rich can afford them the SA doesn't need to cover that. The SA's story selection sure seems like they are trying to steer debates in a direction that they believe in, rather than just reporting the facts.
on March 3,2014 | 12:10PM
holumuahawaii wrote:
Look at the Fire Marshall's report for Medford in 2013. It is on line. It mentions 319 fires in the Medford area in 2013. None were by e-cigarettes. But a good number were set by juvenile delinquents with matches. Apparently, it would be a better idea to pass legislation to outlaw matches. What's next for the anti-e-cig crowd? Oh, I know, vaping makes you fat, dumb, repulsive to the opposite sex. Sure.
on March 3,2014 | 01:36PM
false wrote:
Adds new meaning to the phrase "Light up".
on March 3,2014 | 05:22PM
jayz43 wrote:
Thank you, Fire Marshal Bill...
on March 4,2014 | 04:38AM
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