A Navy veteran is suing several e-cigarette companies after his e-cigarette exploded in his pocket, according to press reports in Texas.
Matthew Bonestele, a 56-year old veteran who lives outside Dallas, claims the April 21, 2016, explosion from the LG Chem HG2 18650 battery caused him to suffer third degree burns to most of his right leg, according the Houston Chronicle and KIDY Fox San Angelo.
The blast also blew a hole in his upper right thigh, he said.
Houston attorney Randy Sorrels is representing Bonestele in a lawsuit against LG Chem America, Inc. The lawsuit claims that LG Chem America, Inc. defectively designed and manufactured the battery, and that it did not have warnings alerting users to the hazard. The distributor, Lightfire Group, LLC., and Great Vapes LLC., which sold Bonestele the e-cigarette, are also named in the lawsuit.
"As more and more people have made the switch to electronic cigarettes as an alternative to smoking, battery explosions and injuries have been on the rise," Sorrels' office wrote in a statement.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of the Navy's announcement last week of a fleet-wide ban on electronic cigarettes and vaporizers, citing numerous reports of the devices exploding and injuring sailors.
Sorrels noted that Bonestele was not the only person at risk from the exploding e-cigarette – everyone around him was also in danger.
"Mr. Bonestele suffered an injury that he could never have imagined in civilian life," Sorrels said in a statement. "The reality is that these batteries are small sticks of dynamite and the e-cigarette industry needs to make wholesale changes to ensure the safety of all those who use these batteries."
Mackenzie Wolf is an editorial intern for Military Times.