IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - A local man is recovering from third-degree burns after he says an electronic cigarette exploded in his pocket. Just 24 hours after surgery, he's sharing his story so no one else falls victim to an unexpected explosion.
Trey Furniss says he switched to an electronic vaporizer after smoking for 12 years. Furniss says he made the switch because some call it a safer alternative. Now he's questioning that choice because his vaporizer sent him to the hospital. Now he's lying in a hospital bed at Eastern Idaho Medical Center, wrapped up in bandages.
"I think I'll be in here long enough to just quit it cold turkey," Furniss says.
As he recovers from second and third-degree burns, Furniss wishes he never picked up the device that landed him here.
"We were putting the kids shoes on and I felt something get hot in my pocket and so I put my hand in my pocket and it just blew up... and white flames just shot out of the side of my pocket"
The ex-smoker was at Grand Teton Mall Friday when his vape or e-cigarette exploded. He says it was the only thing in his pocket.
Amanda Sayer is his best friend, she was right there when it blew-up. "He was grabbing his leg and I just remember this giant flame, it was like a ball of fire. It wasn't very loud, it was like a bottle rocket if anything. The next thing I know he's turned around. He's on his back and he's got his hand in his pocket and I realized then it was vape."
The two say they have no idea why it exploded. Sayer says, "there's no reason it shouldn't have happened to me. I'm less careful with mine then he is with his. His was sitting in his pocket alone. Mine got tossed into my purse all the time. It could happen to anybody, it could happen to you easily"
Owner of Idaho Vape Cameron Busch says many of the explosions are linked to improper usage. "People putting batteries or open batteries inside their pocket with keys or other change or anything like that. Just like any other type of battery if you put two nine volts together they're going to blow up," he said.
Busch claims that's not the only reason, it could be the wrong battery.
"Not all batteries are the same you have low drain batteries or low-quality batteries. We usually try to stick to name brands." He says it's also important to make sure the batteries are wrapped and you are using the correct device.
"You're talking about a specialty industry and you know vape shops are going to be more knowledgeable than anything else like amazon or anything like that. You can read as many reviews as you want. but we have personally tried out a number of devices and batteries so we can give you the best suggestion for what we use. That's something we use daily so you know we feel they're safe and good products."
Furniss questions that and hopes his message prevents others from lying in the same bed he's now in.
"Everything on mine was good, any advice I could give, just don't, just don't do it at all."
It's a long road to recovery for Furniss. Doctors say if the skin graft takes, he may leave the hospital as soon as Monday. His wife reached out to an attorney to see what legal action they can take.
A go-fund-me account has been made to help cover medical expenses.