Virginia woman badly burned by vaping device, airlifted to hospital, police say

- A Springfield woman was airlifted to the hospital Saturday after authorities say her vaping device blew up, leaving her badly burned.

Officials say it happened while the woman and her boyfriend sat inside her car in a parking lot in Herndon.

“It was like a big smoke bomb went off and then just 'boom.' It shattered and fire everywhere,” said Dennis Whitaker, the boyfriend of 34-year-old Heather Boyd.

He says she had just purchased new batteries for the device.

“She’s screaming, ‘I’m burning, I’m burning,’ and I didn’t understand how bad it was until I saw her hands, but her entire index finger right here was cracked open and it was pretty bad,” Whitaker said.

And while vaping use is on the rise, these kinds of incident happen relatively often.

There are dozens of videos on YouTube of similar vape device explosions.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration even has a web page titled, “Tips to Help Avoid ‘Vape’ Battery Explosions.”

It says vape explosions are rare but dangerous, adding, “the exact causes of such incidents are not yet clear, but some evidence suggests that battery-related issues may lead to vape explosions.”

Whitaker was careful to say he doesn’t know whether the battery or the vape device caused the explosion.

As of Saturday evening, Boyd's condition is also unknown, although firefighters said her injuries are not life-threatening.

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