The community of E-Cig users has grown a lot in the last decade. A lot of innovation and new products have been released over the years as well as new vendors popping up recently. It comes to no surprise that annual conventions are being held nationwide inviting all vapers young and old to attend. These conventions are similar to Comic-Con in California where some famous people (mostly YouTube reviewers) speak to an audience, new products are released and shown off, and “cloud chasing” contests are held.
For the most part, these conventions have gone off great with no injuries and everyone is very satisfied. Although there was a case this year where the hotel near or hosting, the convention did issue a complaint and asked all member attending the convention not vape in the hotel room as it was setting off the fire alarms. Aside from that, there hasn’t been a major incident until last weekend.
Vape Blast Expo 2.0 was held in Austin Texas last weekend Saturday, August 16, 2014 where a cloud chasing completion was held. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the cloud chasing contest, it is when vapers use unregulated tube-shaped E-Cigs housing a single battery and attempt to blow the largest clouds possible. Now these devices are often running wattages well within the 100+’s, needless to say competitors really need to know what they are doing in order to participate as it can get extremely dangerous if these unregulated tube mods are mishandled. So during the last few rounds of the cloud chasing competition at Vape Blast Expo last weekend it seems something went awry.
I spoke to a couple of vendors that were actually there and it seems that a competitor’s device got super hot to the point where he couldn’t touch it anymore. He attempted to remove the battery to try to save the mod but got scared, dropped the device, and ran. The device then EXPLODED. That’s right exploded and pieces of metal flew everywhere. There were scorch marks on the floor and a hole in the ceiling. Apparently, the whole experience was unreal as some participants have stated they’ve never seen a mech mod explode like that before. Fortunately, nobody was hurt from the incident aside from a few with elevated heart rates.
Upon inspection of the exploded mod in question, it seems the device was modified somehow. It was hard to say as the device was decimated after the explosion. From what some experts can tell, the battery shorted out and started to vent, however since the device was modified and not the original design, some of the vent holes may have been missing. Thus, when the battery began to vent, the pressure in the device began to build up and ultimately explode. It also didn’t help the owner of the device threw the mod down and ran out scared of his minds It was very fortunate and extremely lucky that no one was hurt from this ordeal. Considering pieces of shrapnel from the mod flew everywhere I’m shocked (and glad) nobody was hit. What caused the battery to vent in the first place is an obvious no-brainer.
The user overreached and pushed the battery beyond its capacity. I’ve heard of many competitors do this and push the limits of a new battery and just throw it away after the contest. This is extremely dangerous practice to do. Batteries should never be pushed past their limits especially with how close they are to your face. Imagine the device going off while you were inhaling, sounds like a bad time.
I believe the administrators of the convention handled the situation very well. They canceled the contest which all participants understood and made sure everyone was okay and unharmed. It seemed they were more interested in the safety of everyone than persecuting the person responsible for this incident. Out of the dozens of conventions that has been held this is the first occurrence of an incident of this magnitude. Most likely future competitions will have more restrictions on the devices used as well as inspections prior to entering the contest. All in all, I hope to attend a convention in the future to get first interaction with some of the new hardware before it hits the stores as well as meeting fellow vapers new and old alike.