Autopsy shows exploding vape pen, not fire, killed St. Pete man

- The autopsy report for a man whose vape pen exploded, causing a fire in his St. Petersburg home, shows the exploding pen -- not the fire -- killed him.

The autopsy report for Tallmadge D'elia says shrapnel from his exploding vape pen killed him. He suffered burns to 80 percent of his body.  The manner of death is reported as an accident. 

His vape device exploded on May 5, causing his St. Pete home to catch fire. 

The device was reportedly manufactured by a company in the Philippines.

Harold Weeks at Purely Vapor says, while they do happen from time to time, exploding vapes are rare.

“They're pretty problem-free, I’d definitely say,” he said. “If you were to build outside the specs of your battery, generally that’s when you run into problems."

He points out the sharp increase in popularity of vaping means more people have more devices.

“A lot of things you get with smoking are not quite present in electronic cigarettes,” Weeks said.

He says that is mainly what's driving the spike in sales and few seem to be worried about any sort of device failure.

“A vast majority of our clients are people who want to quit smoking,” he added. 

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