Man Burned When E-Cig Explodes in Pants at New York's Grand Central Terminal: MTA | NBC New York
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Man Burned When E-Cig Explodes in Pants at New York's Grand Central Terminal: MTA

"It looked like he had fireworks in his pocket"

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    An employee of Central Cellars in Grand Central Terminal was seriously burned when the e-cigarette in his pocket exploded into flames. Michael George looked into the story. (Published Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016)

    What to Know

    • A man was taken to hospital after an e-cigarette exploded in his pocket on Wednesday morning.

    • The man was working at a wine shop in Grand Central Terminal when the e-cig exploded.

    • He was taken to hospital where he was treated for third-degree burns.

    A man working at Grand Central Terminal suffered leg and hand burns after his e-cigarette exploded in his pants pocket, officials say.

    Central Cellars assistant manager John Lee said it looked like fireworks exploding when the vaporizer pen suddenly blew up in his colleague's pants on Wednesday morning. 

    Lee said he smelled the fumes before he heard the explosion.

    "And then I looked, and it looked like he had fireworks in his pocket," he said.

    Surveillance Footage Shows E-Cigarette Exploding in Man's Pants

    Surveillance Footage Shows E-Cigarette Exploding in Man's Pants
    Surveillance footage shows the moment an e-cigarette exploded in a man's pants while he was at work at Grand Central Terminal. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016)

    "He went to pull the cigarette out of his pocket and burned his hand, his nail. There were some some projectiles during the explosion - I ducked out and we all evacuated...I guess these e-cigarettes are a dangerous thing."

    MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said the man was taken by a private ambulance service to a local hospital. 

    Donovan said the incident had no impact on train service at the transit hub.

    The e-cigarette victim, Otis Gooding, was in a stable condition in hospital on Wednesday afternoon, according to his attorney, Sanford Rubenstein.

    Rubenstein said his client was being treated for third-degree burns.

    Electronic cigarettes and other battery-operated electronic smoking devices occasionally do catch fire.

    Last year, the federal Department of Transportation issued a rule prohibiting passengers from packing e-cigarettes in checked luggage to protect against in-flight fires.

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