‘It was like a firework going off’ - toddler’s lucky escape as e-cigarette explodes in Sprowston home

Grant and Frankie Worthington with their son Alfie. They had a lucky escape when an E-cigarette expl

Grant and Frankie Worthington with their son Alfie. They had a lucky escape when an E-cigarette exploded that was charging exploded in their Norwich home. Photo: Steve Adams

A toddler had a lucky escape after an e-cigarette exploded 'like a firework' inches from where he was playing.

Grant and Frankie Worthington with their son Alfie. They had a lucky escape when an E-cigarette expl

Grant and Frankie Worthington with their son Alfie. They had a lucky escape when an E-cigarette exploded that was charging exploded in their Norwich home. Photo: Steve Adams

Little Alfie Worthington, aged 20 months, had pottered into his parents' room where the e-cigarette was charging on the bedside table.

His mother Frankie, 22-years-old, said it was fortunate that Alfie was at floor level, and wants to warn people of the dangers of e-cigarettes overheating while charging.

'If that table wasn't in the way, he probably wouldn't be here now,' said Mrs Worthington, of Dakota Drive, Sprowston. 'That's the frightening thing of it - that took a lot of the blast.

'For no apparent reason it just exploded.

Grant and Frankie Worthington with their son Alfie. They had a lucky escape when an E-cigarette expl

Grant and Frankie Worthington with their son Alfie. They had a lucky escape when an E-cigarette exploded that was charging exploded in their Norwich home. Photo: Steve Adams


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'It was like a firework going off in here.

'It was on fire itself, and I dialled 999 - the e-cigarette is just obliterated. It just blew up.'

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The company director had dashed downstairs to fetch a bowl of water, while her husband Grant, 24, pushed the bed away so the fire could not spread.

'It was like a Catherine wheel,' added Mrs Worthington. 'It was just a white glow of sparks.

'I grabbed Alfie, he screamed and Grant jumped over the bed - he put some of the fire out with his hands.'

The e-cigarette had been on charge before it exploded on Saturday morning.

'If it happened when we were out or asleep, heaven forbid,' said Mr Worthington, who works as an engineer. 'It could have been so much worse.

'The house could have gone up.'

One appliance from Sprowston fire station attended at 7.35am on Saturday, but the blaze was extinguished before they arrived.

Mr Worthington said they had taken thermal images to ensure the scene was safe, and that he had notified Trading Standards - in a bid to prevent a future tragedy.

The e-cigarette was bought at a Norwich shop in August and did not have any instructions with it, he added.

'It was nasty and frightening,' he said. 'The room was like a ball of smoke.

'People need to be aware.'

He said firefighters believed it was the first case of its kind in Norfolk.

Similar incidents have happened elsewhere in the country, with a Liverpool man killed in August after a charging e-cigarette exploded and ignited oxygen equipment he was believed to have been using, according to Merseyside fire service.

Are e-cigarettes safe to use? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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