A former CNBC producer was killed when his vape exploded and lodged in his skull, according to an autopsy confirmed by the medical examiner of Pinellas County.
Tallmadge Wakeman D’Elia, 38, who went by “Wake,” died on Cinco de Mayo in St. Petersburg, FL after his vape pen ignited a fire in his bedroom. The autopsy results reportedly showed the vape not only exploded and sparked the blaze, but it made a “projectile wound” in D’Elia’s skull.
Bill Pellan, Director of Investigations at the Pinellas County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the report.
The vape pen was reportedly a device made in the Philippines that is unregulated and not recommended for beginners. It’s still unclear what caused the pen to explode.
When firefighters discovered him, 45% of his body was covered in burns. The medical examiner says D’Elia’s cause of death is “accidental.”
A recent FEMA/ US Fire Administration report found e-cigarette and vape explosions are not common but when they do occur, they can be extremely deadly as the shape of the devices make them behave like “flaming rockets.”
FEMA, which keeps stats on e-cigarettes, says D’Elia’s death is the first in the U.S. caused by a vape pen.
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