A dad has told of the moment his e-cigarette exploded yards away from his seven-week-old son – seconds after he had wrapped it in a dressing gown.
Singer Steve Lewis, 38, said this morning’s incident could have ended ‘terribly’ if he hadn’t noticed a strange smell coming from the device as it charged beside his bed.
He told The Gazette: “There could have been battery acid flying around the room, and if we were asleep the bed could have set on fire or anything. We were lucky.”
The incident happened shortly after Steve, his wife Crystal, and their fourth child Varney went upstairs to bed at around 1.30am.
The couple were talking while feeding the youngster when they noticed the stench, added Mr Lewis, who entertains guests at The Royal Seabank Hotel.
“I leaned out of bed and lifted the plug and e-cig up to my nose, and the smell was definitely coming from that,” he said. “It was red hot.”
Steve said he unplugged the device and carried it around the other side of the bed before wrapping it up in a £70 dressing gown given to him for his birthday.
He added: “The next minute, there was an almighty bang and it set on fire. I dropped it on the floor.”
Using a wet flannel from the bathroom, Steve put out the flames before carrying the smouldering bundle downstairs and into the front garden, where it remained earlier this afternoon.
The couple’s three other children, six-year-old twins Chanelle and Demi, and Serenna, two, were taken down downstairs as smoke alarms sounded, and as Steve tried to contact firefighters at the station for advice about the fumes from the device.
Unable to do so, he dialled 999, and two engines, from South Shore and Blackpool, attended the family’s home in Preston New Road, Marton, at around 2am.
Watch manager Mark Warwick said: “This family were very lucky the e-cigarette was charging in the bedroom and they became aware of the problem so quickly.
“At this stage we are still examining the battery, lead, and e-cigarette to try to establish where the fault came from.
“We would like to take this opportunity to remind the public the correct charging units should always be used with e-cigarettes.
“We would also prefer e-cigarettes not to be left charging overnight.”
Steve could not recall where the device came from, but said he remembers it was from a local store. He said he had plugged it in to charge with a Samsung charger.
USB chargers are becoming more and more common with the same charger used for several devices, including tablets, mobile phones, e-readers, and even wireless screwdrivers.
But they are sometimes incompatible, leading to warnings to only use original charging units.