E-cigarette battery explodes inside car, burning Washington County couple

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. — A couple was burned in an explosion inside of their own car after an e-cigarette battery caught fire.

Jeremy Markle, one of the victims, said the battery went up in flames and severely burned his girlfriend’s hands while they were driving on Interstate 79 Tuesday night.


“It was an instant flash. I mean, the battery just instantly started glowing red, it was like a blacksmith heating metal -- just glowing,” Markle said.

The flames caused a hole on the floor of the car and a burn mark on the seat.

Markle said he is grateful that the e-cigarette was not in his mouth when it exploded and that he did not crash the car.

“It was less than a second. If I was holding it to my mouth, it could have caught the rest of me on fire,” Markle said.

Channel 11’s Cara Sapida reached out to E-Fest Cig Batteries, a company based in China, but has not received a response.

According to recent data, more than 2.5 million Americans use e-cigarettes, bur fires or explosions associated with them are fairly rare.

Channel 11 learned that between 2009 and 2014, there were 25 reported incidents.

Of those, 20 happened while the battery was being charged. Nine people were injured in those incidents, with two suffering serious burns.