Ohio woman says vape pen caused fire that destroyed SUV in Woodhaven parking lot

Woman says sparks flew when she took batteries out of charger

In just about forty-five seconds, ejected batteries from a vape pen caused Crystal Mounts' car to catch on fire

WOODHAVEN, Mich. – A woman from Columbus, Ohio, said her vape pen caused a fire that destroyed her SUV in the parking lot of a Woodhaven IHOP restaurant.

On Thursday morning, Crystal Mounts was traveling to Metro Detroit to visit family and pulled off for breakfast. When she took the batteries out of her vape pen charger, sparks flew and started a fire in her SUV.

"It just started slow and went quick," Mounts said. "When I went to take it off, it shot sparks. There was a bag nearby where it was charging. I realized there was still too much smoke, realized the fire was under the pedal."

Her 5-year-old son was in the back seat, but fortunately, he knew to jump out of the SUV. They both ran away from the car.

Mounts said she could only watch and call for help.

"I would say within 45 seconds a little fire turned into a bigger fire," Mounts said.

Fires tied to vape pens have made headlines nationwide. The fires have been linked to the lithium batteries used in the pens.

The U.S. Fire Administration is tracking the fires. From 2009 to 2016, there were 195 incidents.

The agency hasn't issued regulations, but there are guidelines recommending manufacturers address battery safety issues.

"Definitely be careful with vape batteries," Mounts said.

Mounts has contacted the vape pen manufacturer concerning the incident.

A relative picked her up from the parking lot about an hour after the fire, she said.


About the Authors:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.