NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Grand Central Station wine shop employee spent Thanksgiving Day in the hospital, after an e-cigarette blew up in his pocket and left him burned this week.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, Otis Gooding, 31, of Queens was set to undergo surgery for injuries he suffered in the Wednesday morning incident at Central Cellars. He had planned to spend Thanksgiving at his mother’s house, but instead, his family gathered to comfort him in the hospital.
“He is in terrible shape,” said attorney Sanford Rubenstein. “He’s awaiting surgery on Tuesday, a graft surgery for an injury to his right leg; the burn. But more seriously, he’s very worried about his right hand, because that was severely burned, and he’s concerned with the use of his right hand.”
Rubenstein spoke with CBS2’s Aiello along with Gooding’s brother, Joshua Barker. Gooding himself remained in the burn unit at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
“It’s really nerve-wracking for me because of the pain he’s going through,” Barker said. “I’m wondering what I can do to help him.”
Gooding was working at the cash register at Central Cellars wine store when the explosion happened. On video, it looked like a bomb went off in Gooding’s pants.
Gooding told his attorney he bought the explosive device at a store on Canal Street, but he did not remember which one. His attorney was trying to figure out who made the item.
The fragments were in the custody of the FDNY late Thursday.
The U.S. Fire Administration said people reported more than two dozen incidents of explosions and fires caused by e-cigarettes between 2009 and 2014.
Many are linked to the vaporizer’s lithium-ion battery. Overcharging, manufacturing defects, and punctures can cause it to overheat, triggering an explosion.
This year, the Department of Transportation finalized a ban on e-cigarettes being stored in checked baggage.
And with a growing number of incidents like this, some are pushing for further regulation and even an outright ban on certain vaping products. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has been among those pushing for the Food and Drug Administration to do more to study and limit the dangers of e-cigarettes.