Published: 11:00, 15 January 2015
| Updated: 11:56, 15 January 2015
A dad has told how his family could have been killed after an e-cigarette exploded in his children’s bedroom.
Mark Stockdale says the electronic device went up in flames 10 minutes after he plugged it into his iPhone charger.
Fire crews raced to the scene in London Road, Teynham, at 2.30pm on Friday but Mr Stockdale had managed to put the blaze out – suffering burns to his fingers and palms.
He said: “I can't believe how lucky I was. It had only been on charge about 10 minutes when I heard a swooshing noise.
“The next minute it exploded in my hand, shooting flames across the room, setting the bedding alight.
"I dread to think what could have happened if I'd left it charging and gone out or if we’d been asleep. It could've killed us and gutted our home."
Firefighters treated Mr Stockdale’s injuries until paramedics arrived and later issued a warning about charging e-cigarettes.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s community safety manager, Charlie Smith, said: "If your New Year's resolution is to quit smoking and you're using an e-cigarette to help you, please make sure you know how to charge it safely."
The warning comes a month after a house fire in Sheerness was thought to have been started by an e-cigarette being charged incorrectly.
On that occasion, the blaze caused severe damage to a bedroom and extensive smoke damage to the upstairs of a home in Alexandra Road.
Mr Smith said: "You might save a few pounds if you buy cheap or incompatible chargers but is it really worth putting your family or home at risk?
“If your e-cigarette doesn't come with a charger, please don't assume that your USB cables can be transferred between devices. Chargers for mobile phones are often more powerful, so can overheat"
Video: Warning after e-cigarette explodes (courtesy of Kent Fire and Rescue)
KFRS and Kent Trading Standards have developed a leaflet with safety advice and are working together with businesses selling e-cigarettes and mobile phone chargers to help people understand the dangers of using fake or incorrect chargers.
Mark Rolfe, from KCC Trading Standards, added: "There are serious problems with e-cigarette chargers and also cheap and counterfeit mobile phone chargers. Some of them have caused fires and even deaths.
“For advice and to report issues to KCC Trading Standards contact Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506."