Teenage Girl Injured By Exploding E-Cigarette At Orlando Theme Park

A teenager girl was injured by an e-cigarette at Universal Orlando theme park, after another passenger’s device exploded and sent a fireball into the girl’s face, The Orlando Sentinel is reporting.

The Tennessee teenager was on board the Hogwarts Express, which connects passengers between the Universal Studios theme park and the adjoining Islands of Adventure theme park, at about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The teen girl was with her family; also in the same car with her was a group of young men from the Orlando area.

teenager e-cigarette
The Hogwarts Express connects Universal Studios with Islands of Adventure [Photo by John Raoux/AP]

For unknown reasons, an e-cigarette, or perhaps a vaporizer pen, in the pocket of one of the men exploded. The explosion shot a fireball into the teen girl’s face, according to Fox News. Both the teenager and the adult man suffered minor injuries. The girl was taken to nearby Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and treated for minor burns on her face, arm, and leg.

There was a small hole burned into the train seat, but the ride was not otherwise damaged.

Lt. Dan Brady of the Orlando Police Department said that passengers on the Hogwarts Express that day got some thrills they weren’t expecting.

“It was just a weird, freak accident that unfortunately caused injuries to two people. It wasn’t a big explosion but was definitely enough to scare everyone who was in that cab of the train.”

Electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes” or “e-cigs,” use a battery-operated heating coil to heat an oil containing nicotine, and sometimes other flavorings, to produce a vapor, or mist, which the user inhales then exhales. According to How Stuff Works, there are several reasons why they appear to be an attractive alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes.

“There’s no fire, no ash and no smoky smell. E-cigarettes do not contain all of the harmful chemicals associated with smoking tobacco cigarettes, such as carbon monoxide and tar.”

Unfortunately, e-cigarettes also have a tendency to explode.

Alexander Shonkwiler, who was 19 at the time, told NBC News that he had an e-cigarette battery in his pocket, along with some coins. He believes that coins and the battery may have created a short, which caused the battery to explode.

“I heard what sounded almost like a sparkler going off, and then bang, a huge explosion, a huge flash of light and these flames were coming at my face. As I looked down, my leg was on fire. I ripped my pants off, and even with my pants off, my leg was still on fire because the battery acid sprayed all over my leg and dripped down my leg.”

Shonkwiler may have actually gotten off light; Dr. Anne Wagner, of the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) Burn Center, says that some victims of e-cigarette explosions have suffered injuries so severe that they required major surgeries.

“It’s literally an explosion, a super-hot explosion. We’re seeing deep third-degree burns and almost all of them require skin grafts and these grafts leave a significant scar.”

Some victims have either suffered fractured bones and loss of eyesight.

The U.S. Fire Administration looked at the data between 2009 and 2014 and found at least 25 cases of people being injured by exploding e-cigarettes in that period; the number has undoubtedly grown since then, as the use of e-cigarettes, as wells as similar devices designed to vaporize cannabis plants or oil, has grown.

Back in Orlando, Universal Orlando officials shut down the Hogwarts Express ride where there girl was injured for a couple of hours, but it has since reopened.

[Feature Image by scyther5/Shutterstock]