Safety

Electronic cigarette fire in Syracuse hospital a mystery

Hospital Safety Insider, May 15, 2014

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The official cause of a fire in a Syracuse, New York fire that burned a patient on oxygen who was using an electronic cigarette remains a mystery, according to the newspaper website Syracuse.com.
 
The March 22 fireat St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center is still under investigation, and without further forensics investigation officials stop short of blaming the e-cigarette reports said the patient was using at the time the fire started. The website reported that legal difficulties are slowing the investigation as all parties involved need time to be notified and to hire experts to participate in the investigation process.
 
The unidentified patient suffered burns second- and third-degree burns, but has since been released to home care after spending time recovering in a burn unit, according to the report. She apparently told investigators that she had pressed a button on the device, and that she heard a pop and then realized she had caught fire.
 
Electronic cigarettes contain a battery-operated heating element, and a replaceable cartridge filled with liquid nicotine or other chemicals that when heated converts the contents of the cartridge into a vapor. Although considered safer than regular cigarettes, there have been a small number of cases in which the devices have exploded because the batteries were overcharged or put in wrong, the report added.



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