All vape pen users have been issued with a warning after a man's E-cig exploded in his pocket.
Richard Bingham, 37, a building contractor, needed hospital treatment when his vape pen reportedly short-circuited after coming into contact with his keys.
He was left with painful burns and scarring to his leg after being rushed to A&E at The Whittington Hospital in Archway, north London, where he was working.
Now, Richard has joined London Fire Brigade (LFB) to launch a campaign today highlighting the potential dangers of using vape pens.
The dad of one said: "I could hear a hissing and popping and I was looking around asking what it was.
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"Then it stopped and all of a sudden I felt this heat in my pocket and I knew straight away what was happening.
"I was trying to get my vape out of my pocket but it was burning my hand so I couldn't get it out.
"Everyone was helping me as I was trying to get my boots undone so I could get my trousers off but it was too late — I was already badly burnt."
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He said hospital staff came out and poured water over his leg to try and stop the burning.
"It all happened so quickly but I have never felt pain like it," he said.
"I can laugh about it now but I've never been so scared — it was like a bomb going off in my pocket."
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He suffered third-degree burns on his left leg and blistering to his hand from trying to take the vape out of his pocket.
Fortunately, he didn't need to have skin grafts, but was left with bad scarring and said it could have been worse if he hadn't been working in a hospital at the time of the incident last summer.
London Fire Brigade investigators believe the keys in Richard's pocket may have caused the vape's battery to short-circuit.
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Richard's girlfriend works in a vape shop but didn't know that the pens could explode if they come into contact with metal.
"I've been vaping for about four years and seen videos of them exploding but you just don't expect it to go off like that," he added.
"I must have been lucky as I've always had change or keys in my pocket — I just don't think people are aware of the dangers."
Richard said he never carries his vape around with him anymore, and walks away when he sees other people vaping.
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The LFB's Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Charlie Pugsley said: "Compared to the number of fires we see caused by cigarettes, vaping could be seen as a much safer option.
"However, we are concerned that there are often cases such as Richard's where the batteries have short-circuited and gone out but there is a very real potential of them starting a serious fire.
"If you are using vaping products it's vital you only use the charger it was supplied with and never overcharge it."
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