E-cigarette explosion injures bus rider

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A scary scene playing out Monday afternoon on a county bus in Pinellas. A woman suffered possible burns after something in her backpack started smoking and now fire officials believe it was a vapor cigarette.  

The view from SkyFOX showed the emergency response of ambulances and fire trucks to what Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority officials described as a smoky situation.

“When he stopped at the stop, here he noticed some smoke in the back of the bus,” said PSTA director Jeff Thompson. “No fire, no big explosion.”

Largo fire officials tell FOX 13 the smoke stemmed from the backpack of a passenger, they believe an vapor cigarette exploded inside. However PSTA officials are not confirming that detail until the investigation is complete.

“We thought it was a vapor cigarette or something along that line but we'll know after we get more information from Largo PD,” said Thompson.

Kevin Blacklidge works near the intersection of Belcher and Ulmerton where the bus stopped and the 12 to 15 people onboard came rushing off.

“Noticed people getting off the bus and paramedics and the fire trucks everything going on,” said Blacklidge. “You're always concerned everything going on nowadays.”

Officials say no passengers were hurt except for the woman wearing the backpack. They say she did have to be taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

We spoke with Emanuel Rubert with Octane Vapes in Brooksville. He says with the popularity of vape pens on the rise, not everyone takes the steps to protect the batteries on the devices which can be a potential hazard.

“It could turn into a really bad injury I mean it can start fires,” said Rubert. “Loose change, keys; anything like that touching the contacts can set them off.”