NAPLES, Fla. — A man went in for surgery Tuesday afternoon after an e-cigarette exploded in his face Monday morning, burning his face, neck, hands and lungs.
Emergency medics transported Evan Spahlinger from Naples Community Hospital to the Burn Center at Kendall Regional Medical Center Monday. Spahlinger’s mother, Alissa Stefanacci, followed close behind.
“He’s my baby. He turned 21 last week,” Stefanacci said.
Spahlinger was with his sister when she heard an explosion. She found her brother in another room gasping for air so she called 911.
“She went towards the explosion to find him completely covered in black, what appeared to be soot, throwing up, foaming from the mouth,” Stefanacci said.
Stefanacci said they’ve been embraced by an outpouring of support from friends and family. Even Spahlinger’s boss made the trip from Naples to check in.
“Shows a lot about Evan’s character, and he is a local boy who grew up in Naples; a very well-liked young man,” Stefanacci said.
She said it’s helped during a difficult time where her main priority is taking care of her youngest child.
“I haven’t cried yet, but I’m sure I’ll have my day,” she said. “He’s a good boy. He didn’t deserve this.”
She voiced concerns about the unknown risks of electronic cigarettes. North Collier Fire Rescue is working alongside the state to determine if the lithium battery inside the device caused the explosion.
“I hope that people see this and think twice before they spend their hard-earned money on something that could really change their life forever,” Stefanacci said.
By the end of the day Tuesday, she said Spahlinger was still unable to breathe without a ventilator.