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E-Cigarette Battery Explodes In Car, Couple Sues

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A woman who suffered second-degree burns after her e-cigarette battery exploded in her car compared the resulting fire to a blowtorch.

Jennifer Ries and her husband, Xavier, of Corona, Calif. are suing the e-cigarette manufacturer VapCigs after its rechargeable battery caught fire. They were on their way to the Los Angeles International Airport for a volunteer trip to South America back in March, she told CBS News.

She was charging a VapCigs e-cigarette when her husband thought he smelled nail polish remover. "I looked around and I saw the battery to the (e-cigarette) dripping," Ries said. "I went to unscrew it and the battery started shooting fire toward me and then exploded and shot the metal pieces onto my lap."

Her cotton dress caught fire said Ries, "I got severe second-degree burns on both the back of my upper thighs and my lower buttocks."

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She described the battery's malfunction as "a blowtorch type of fire and then an explosion." Her quick-thinking husband pulled the car over into the emergency lane and threw a cup of coffee on her to put the fire out.

Ries said she's still visiting doctors at UC Irvine Health Regional Burn Center.

Gregory Bentley is representing the Ries' in a lawsuit against Benham Zolgdahr, the retailer, and Corona-based VapCigs. He said that the new product is not being properly regulated.

"Right now, at least how it stands, the FDA is regulating this whole industry as a tobacco product, so all of the component parts, including the battery, the charger, and so on, are not tested for safety," the lawyer told CBS.

"The more this goes on without being regulated, the more it's going to happen," said Ries.

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So far e-cigs have been linked to explosions in Florida, Oklahoma City and Muskogee.

Unregulated, Addictive, And Enticing: E-Cigarettes Suck In Smokers But Risks Remain