TV producer killed after e-cigarette exploded, burning 45% of his body

May 22, 2018
09:28 A.M.
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There was initially some confusion about how the man had died, but the coroner confirmed it was from something many carry around in their pockets. 


Tallmadge Wakeman D'Elia, a 38-year-old man from St Petersburg, Florida, has died after his e-cigarette exploded inside his pocket while he was in his home. 

As reported by ABC Action News, it was initially thought that he had died in a simple house fire in an upstairs bedroom, but the coroner's office confirmed it was the e-cigarette that caused the fire in the first place. 

D'Elia was found with burns across 45% of his body, and a "projectile wound" from the e-cigarette, penetrating both his skull and his brain. 

Bill Pellan, Director of Investigations at the Pinellas County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that the device was a Smok-E Mountain Mech Works, which is a type of unregulated mechanical modified e-cigarette. 


This device does not come with safety features.

Gary Wilder, owner of Lizard Juice, explained that these devices are simply not safe to use, and that he and most other local store owners won't sell these devices. 

“Any other e-cig that has a computer chip in it prevents that from [overheating],” Wilder added. 


Wilder has also suggested users take other measures with their vapes, including using rubber casings over extra batteries, and re-wrapping any batteries that seem worn down. 

"If that seal is broken on the top, the negative is exposed and if you put that in your pocket, it can do the same thing in your pocket," Wilder explained.

Smoke-E mountain told ABC Action News that it was not their device that caused the accident, but more likely that it was a cloned battery that made the device so unsafe.