MEDFORD, Ore. — Electronic cigarettes are a growing industry in Southern Oregon and are becoming more and more popular amongst smokers. Medford Fire reports two instances in which the device has overheated and started small fires in Medford homes.
E-cigs come in a variety of shapes and styles, and with each style comes a specific charger. If not used properly, or left unattended, the lithium ion batteries inside the e-cig can overheat and become a fire hazard.
Medford fire officials say they investigated their second e-cig related fire on Wednesday and say a women was charging her e-cig and left her home for about fifteen minutes.
Once she returned, she found smoke throughout her home and a small pillow on fire. Medford fire officials say the e-cig’s lithium ion battery over-heated, igniting the pillow.
“It created a projectile that went and hit the wall and the ceiling, there were scratch marks up there. Then, it dropped down onto a pillow and started that,” said Medford Fire Marshal Greg Kleinberg.
The other instance Medford Fire responded to involving an e-cig happened last fall when a man was charging an e-cig on his bed when it caught the mattress on fire. The man put the fire out with a fire extinguisher before dialing 911 and fire officials say if no one was home, that fire could have resulted in a full structure fire.
E-cig retailors say if the charging instructions aren’t properly followed, the device can over heat. Using the proper charger and not letting the battery charge for longer than four to six hours are among the recommended ways to prevent a potential hazard.