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Malverne man says e-cigarette battery caught fire, burned him

When Stephen Rosenbluth visited a Freeport store to pick up paint on Monday, he wasn’t expecting to leave with burns.

The Malverne resident said Saturday that the battery in his e-cigarette burst into flames in his pocket — injuring him and startling customers.

Rosenbluth is one of several people in recent months who said their e-cigarettes burned them or overheated.

“This just can’t go on unregulated. It’s the same problem with hoverboards. . . . It’s happening with distressing regularity,” said Keith Altman, a Massapequa-based attorney who is representing Rosenbluth.

Rosenbluth, 38, said he was in the checkout line at Home Depot when the burning started. He said he saw a flame as he pulled the device out of his sweatpants pocket.

He said he later saw a doctor for his burns.

Battery manufacturer Efest, based in Shenzhen, China, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company’s website prominently features a warning page stating that a number of conditions, including batteries being placed in pockets and coming in contact with other metals, could cause burns.

Rosenbluth said he had the battery in his e-cigarette for about two months and was not aware of any safety warnings. He had placed the device in his pocket numerous times, he said.

He contacted a lawyer after hearing about other people’s experiences with e-cigarette injuries and realizing the situation could have been worse.

“I have a 3-year-old son and a 10-year-old girl,” he said. “If I was driving or getting gas or my son grabbed it, it could have happened to him.”

There are some regulations on e-cigarettes. Airline passengers aren’t allowed to include e-cigarettes and their batteries in checked luggage or charge the batteries during flights, a change the federal transportation department announced last month.

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