Exploding vape pen may have caused deadly St. Pete house fire

- A deadly fire in Historic Old Northeast St. Petersburg was possibly caused by an exploding vape pen, according to St. Pete Fire Rescue.

The fire happened around 9 a.m. Saturday on the second floor of the two-story home on 19th Avenue NE. 

Emergency crews said they there were no flames or smoke visible when they arrived, but inside they found heavy smoke and the body of 38-year-old Tallmadge D'Elia. 

St. Pete Fire Rescue says D'Elia's had severe facial injuries, believed to be a result of his vape pen exploding near his face. 

They think that explosion also caused the fire. 

Firefighters warn those who use vape pens and e-cigarettes to follow the device's directions for use carefully. 

"We do have cases where the vape pens have exploded and they have caused fires. That's one of the reasons we don't allow them at special events or any type of indoor facilities, just because they are dangerous and hazardous," explained Deputy Marshal Steven Lawrence.

The Pinellas County Coroner will determine D'Elia's official cause of death.

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