Here's one workplace hazard no one ever expects. As the York Press reports, a U.K bartender received the shock of her life when an e-cigarette went off like a model rocket and blew up in her face.
The 18-year-old bartender, Laura Baty, was serving a customer at the Buck Inn Hotel in Richmond, North Yorkshire, when she heard a loud bang. A moment later--captured on video--her arm was singed and her dress was on fire.
"I started crying hysterically and my arm was all black," she told the York Press. "I thought the fuse-box had blown up or a firework had gone off."
In fact, though, it was an e-cigarette that had been plugged into a charger intended for iPads. After rocketing toward Baty and hitting another customer, who received a reddish bruise on his stomach, it landed on the floor and melted through a layer of vinyl before burning out.
A local football team was celebrating in the pub at the time, but luckily no one else was harmed in the explosion.
Stewart Paterson, another bartender who owned the e-cigarette, was also shaken by the explosion. "I just keep thinking what if this had happened while I was charging it at at home. I might have been out and the damage could have been horrendous," he said.
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Paterson added that he'd used the iPad charger to charge the e-cigarette many times without incident. Still, it looks like even quitting smoking has its own set of risks.
A spokeswoman for the cigarette's battery manufacturer stressed the necessity of always using a dedicated charger, saying, "A number of independent organizations, including the fire service, have reiterated warnings that charging lithium batteries incorrectly and failing to take necessary care of these devices can lead to catastrophic failure."
You hear that? "Catastrophic failure." That's a phrase suggestive of things like sinking ships and exploding space shuttles--and while the incident at the Buck Inn may be somewhat less extreme, it's still pretty scary.
Maybe it's time to add "barmaid" to our 15 Most Dangerous Jobs list?