A DUNFERMLINE gran claims her face could have been “destroyed” or her house “burnt down” after her electronic cigarette suddenly exploded.
Margaret Burns, 53, of Blake Street, told the Press she had a lucky escape after the incident on Friday, saying: “What if I had been smoking it at the time?”
She said the £40 'VIP' brand e-cig, which she bought in October, had been left on a wooden cabinet in the living room. Although charged, it had not been plugged in when it exploded.
She added: “Looking at it now you'd think someone had shot a bullet through it. There's a hole in it where it exploded.
“I was in total shock. What if I had been smoking it at the time? When I saw it smoking, I thought: 'Oh my God, if I had been up the stairs, my living room would have been on fire.'
“I still can't get over it. That could have been my face destroyed. It could have burnt the house down. It's just so scary.”
Margaret, her husband Stewart and two-year-old grandson had been making dinner in the kitchen around 6pm when “all the smoke alarms went off”.
On opening the door to the living room, they found it “half-filled with smoke”, which was “shooting out” of the e-cigarette.
Margaret said: “The pen was smoking. I've never seen anything like it. The whole pen was red-hot – you couldn't touch it.
“My grandson was screaming – he was terrified because he saw me and my husband panicking.
“My husband went to lift it and blistered his fingers. I grabbed a bath towel, got it and tossed it outside in the garden. It even burnt through the towel, there are two holes in it.
“It landed in the chips, which were wet because it had been raining. We left it there for about half an hour and we still couldn't lift it, the metal was that hot. Even the metal is all twisted because of the temperature.
“We had to open the front and back doors and put on all the fans, the smoke was that thick. You can still smell the smoke a wee bit in the living room.”
On Saturday, Margaret returned to the VIP store in the Kingsgate to complain, but said she was “fobbed off” before being offered a new pen, charger, battery and adapter.
She's now “going back to cigarettes because I'm terrified” and wants to raise awareness of the apparent dangers of the e-cigarettes.
She said: “I want people to be aware and to always make sure that they check their pens use the right adapter. VIP are trying to blame my iPhone adapter, which I use for everything.”
A spokesman for VIP commented: “We’ve spoken to Ms Burns personally and on this occasion a third-party charger was used.
“We’ve reiterated that VIP products should always be used in conjunction with approved VIP accessories, including chargers, to ensure safe use.
“VIP has strict quality control systems in place and all products come with clear instructions for safe use. We would advise all customers to read these and follow them carefully.
“As a gesture of goodwill, we have sent her a full replacement kit. We cannot stress enough how essential it is to never use third-party chargers with any electrical item.”