E-Cigarette Explodes in Man’s Pants in NYC’s Grand Central Station

A vape pen exploded in Otis Gooding’s pants while he was work, resulting in second- and third-degree burns on his hand, leg and arm.

Otis Gooding (black man in center) right before an e-cigarette exploded in his pocket
Otis Gooding (black man in center) right before an e-cigarette exploded in his pocket YouTube Screenshot

A popular e-cigarette exploded in a New York City man’s pants, resulting in second- and third-degree burns on his hand, leg and arm, according to his attorney.

The scary incident was captured on video, where Otis Gooding can be seen jumping in surprise and pain as a huge spark bursts forth from his pants leg.


The 31-year-old was working the cash register at Central Cellars wine shop in New York’s bustling Grand Central Station when the explosion happened. Bystanders, co workers and other customers can be seen running for cover.

Central Cellars employee Jon Lee, who was standing right next to Gooding, said he could feel the heat from the fireball.

“All of a sudden, I thought he had fireworks in his pocket,” Lee said to CBS2-NY. “Then we realized it was an e-vapor cigarette—the high-powered, voltage battery.”

“He is in terrible shape,” said Sanford Rubeinstein, Gooding’s lawyer. “He’s awaiting surgery on Tuesday, a graft surgery for an injury to his right leg; the burn. But more seriously, he’s very worried about his right hand because that was severely burned, and he’s concerned with the use of his right hand.”

In April, CBS NY2 reported that a 15-year-old was maimed and blinded from the same type of explosion, and that the U.S. Fire Administration said people reported more than two dozen incidents of explosions and fires caused by e-cigarettes between 2009 and 2014.

Last year the federal Department of Transportation issued a rule prohibiting passengers from packing e-cigarettes in checked luggage to protect against in-flight fires. The lithium-ion battery in e-cigs is prone to explosion.

Read more at CBS2-NY.

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