A 21-year-old Florida man was fighting for his life after an e-cigarette he was smoking suddenly exploded, sending him to the hospital with critical injuries, his family said.
Evan Spahlinger, 21, of Naples was placed in a medically-induced coma after he was severely burned on his face, neck, hands, lungs and nasal passages by the electronic smoking device Monday, his mother wrote on social media.
“My son Evan has had a terrible accident,” Spahlinger’s distraught mother, Alissa Cooledge Stefanacci, posted on Facebook.
He was rushed to a local hospital before being airlifted for treatment to Regional Medical Center in Miami.
The young man was kept “very heavily sedated” due to the severity of his burns and the condition of his lungs, she said.
“He knows that I’m here he knows where he is and he knows that there is so much love and prayers out there for him,” Cooledge Stefanacci wrote.
Spahlinger was still on a ventilator Wednesday as doctors worked to improve his breathing ability.
“The plastic surgeon’s team was in today and Evan(‘s) burns on his face neck and hands will heal,” his mother wrote. “It is just going to take time. Evan’s medical team (is) trying to get Evan off the ventilator so he can breathe on his own. It is all a slow process of recovery.”
A GoFundMe account was created to offset medical expenses for Spahlinger, who works as an office manager at a car stereo installation business, according to his Facebook page.
“Let’s all get together and help with medical expenses, bills, whatever they need it for to help with the recovery so he can be back to normal,” the page read.
“He was always a good kid,” Justin Holm, Spahlinger’s friend who created the fundraising page, told INSIDE EDITION in an email.
“The type of person that would never deserve what he is currently going thru. I felt the need to do something to help,” Holm said.
This is not the first time that an electronic cigarette has allegedly caused serious injury.
A California woman was awarded nearly $2 million earlier this month after she was badly burned by an exploding e-cigarette in 2013.
Jennifer Ries of Corona plugged in her VapCigs e-cigarette charger and it spewed hot metal that ignited her dress in March 2013, according to reports.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Monday it was banning electronic cigarettes from airline passengers’ checked luggage and from charging the devices and their batteries on board aircrafts because of their history of catching fire.
“We know from recent incidents that e-cigarettes in checked bags can catch fire during transport,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “Fire hazards in flight are particularly dangerous. Banning e-cigarettes from checked bags is a prudent safety measure.”
It was not immediately clear what brand of e-cigarette Spahlinger was using.