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Tampa mom says vape pen battery exploded, leaving her and relative with serious burns

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa mom claims a battery for her vape pen exploded on Friday, narrrowly missing her 3-year-old daughter and leaving her and a relative with second-degree burns.

“It burns, it hurts and there’s a lot of bruising around it,” said Melisa Hernandez, describing her injuries.

Hernandez said she bought the batteries from Tampa Vapor on Bloomingdale Avenue in Riverview.

The owner, Mike Synychak said he requires new customers to sign a disclaimer explaining what not to do with batteries.

“Battery safety is always important to us,” Synychak said.

But Hernandez believes she did everything right and said the batteries were inside a plastic container away from potentially harmful objects.

According to the mother, the pen exploded in a bag that was strapped around her shoulder while she was carrying her toddler. The battery shot through her bag and hit her aunt in the face, leaving both of them with second-degree burns.

Hernandez showed News Channel 8 her burned clothing and medical release papers from Florida Hospital.

“I thought I was being safe. I didn’t think it would happen to me,” Hernandez said.

“Batteries themselves store a tremendous amount of power, so they need to be treated carefully and with respect,” Synychak said.

Hernandez wants the incident to serve as a warning to others who deal with the lithium batteries used in vape pens.

“There got to be a safer way,” Hernandez said.

It’s still unclear which company manufactured the batteries because the labeling had melted off.

Corey Davis/Channel 8