A 23-year-old Georgia man was left first-degree burns and a dime-sized hole in the roof of his mouth when an e-cigarette he was smoking suddenly blew up in his face.
James Lauria‘s quick smoke break at his workplace in Destin turned into a nightmare that left him in the ICU for a more than a week with first-degree burns to his face and chest and a fractured neck and finger.
Lauria, who had to be hooked up to a breathing tube, also suffered burns to his hand and cornea and had his front tooth forced up into his gum as well as damage to a number of his lower teeth.
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James Lauria, 23, was left in the ICU for more than a week when an electronic cigarette he was smoking during a break at work suddenly exploded in his face
Lauria suffered first-degree burns to his face and chest, a fractured neck, burns to his cornea and a dime-sized hole in the roof of his mouth
‘I’m at work and things quieted down and I stepped away for a second like I always do,’ Lauria told Fox 5 Atlanta, recalling the July 29 accident.
‘Next thing I know, it exploded and I was on my way to a hospital in an ambulance, and that is the last thing I remember.’
Lauria’s parents were shocked when they saw the state their son was in at the University of Alabama’s burn unit – and that it had all been caused by an electronic cigarette.
Six weeks after the accident, Lauria still cannot eat solid foods and is on a liquid diet.
He is recovering in his parents’ Cobb County home, still sporting a neck brace and now speaking with a lisp, but Lauria considers himself lucky.
Lauria also suffered burns to his hand as well as a fractured finger
‘I’m happy to be alive,’ he said. ‘I know how fortunate I am.’
The exploded vape is in custody and being investigated by the South Walton Fire and Rescue Department.
Now Lauria, who will soon be fit with a prosthetic for the roof of his mouth, said he is hoping to get his story out to protect other people from experiencing the same pain.
‘If us getting the word out prevents this from happening to even one person, then I’d say we’ve done a good thing.’