vape pen
An exploding vape pen killed a man in Florida. This is a representational image. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Electronic cigarette explosion is to blame for the death of a 38-year-old Florida man earlier this month, confirmed the Pinellas County medical examiner's office on Tuesday. Tallmadge “Wake” D’Elia died on May 5 after a vape pen exploded close to his face, causing a fire that burnt 80 percent of his body.

According to the autopsy report, he suffered thermal injuries on his chest, abdomen, back, shoulder, arm and hands. The report also said he died of “projectile wound” on head with parts of the e-cigarette penetrating into the skull. Two pieces of the cigarette were found in his cranium, the post-mortem report confirmed.

St. Petersburg police said his body was found inside a home at 316 19th Avenue NE. The fire had reportedly engulfed the bedroom upstairs.

Dale Kleine, a neighbor who identified the body, said she saw smoke coming out of the roof of the house, reported FOX 6. “We were hoping that nobody was one but then we found out that Wake was home,” she said.

“Make sure that people know these things are not as safe as they think they are”, she added.

The vape pen used by the man was manufactured by Smok-E Mountain — a type of unregulated mechanical mod e-cigarette that "does not come with safety features,” according to ABC affiliate WFTS.

A representative from the manufacturing company told WFTS that their devices do not explode. An atomizer (the part a person inserts into the mouth) or a battery issue must have led to this explosion. The company also said they have had issues of people cloning the battery in the past, making it less safe.

This is the first case of e-cigarette death in the United States. Vape pen explosions are not common, but when they do happen, the shape of the devices makes them behave like flaming rockets, a report by FEMA stated.

According to the Washington Post , at least 195 incidents of electronic cigarettes explosion or fire were registered by the U.S. Fire Administration from 2009 to 2016.

D’Elia is survived by his wife, Maria Lamberti, and his parents, Jennifer H. D’Elia and Christopher F. D’Elia. His father told WFTS that he is in a state of shock. “A 38-year-old should not be gone and his mother and I are devastated,” he said.

“Anybody who has lost a son doesn’t want anybody else to lose a child to something like this," he added.

"I didn’t really find what he was doing attractive, and I asked him not to do it in the house because I didn’t like the odor, and he didn’t. His mother and I weren't home, so that's why he may have been using it inside,” he said while talking about e-cigarette use by his son.