A teen has revealed horrifying images of his second degree burns after a portable charger exploded and threw him out of bed, melting the skin across his back and arm.
Colton Pingree fell asleep charging his battery pack but woke up when the explosion knocked him onto his bedroom floor during the early hours of August 18 to discover his bed “on fire”.
The quick-thinking 15-year-old managed to extinguish the flames using his “bare hands” before throwing the device which was still alight down the toilet and alerting his father, 49-year-old butcher Andrew Pingree.
The ordeal has left Colton with second degree burns across his back and left arm which have ‘melted’ a layer of his skin, caused large bubbling blisters and exposed tissue.
A fortnight later Colton’s wounds are healing well, but his mother 42-year-old Shari Pingree was keen to warn others of the dangers of sleeping alongside electrical devices.
After sharing her son’s horrifying wounds on Facebook, her post amassed more than 39,000 likes, comments and shares.
Colton, of Tuolumne, California, US, said: “I was charging my charging pack so I could have it for school the next day – it was laying on my bed right next to one of my pillows and I was rolled over with my back on it.
“At about 2:30am I woke up laying on my floor really confused — I felt a really strong pain in my back, my arm burnt a little bit and it just smelt really weird.
“I looked up and both of my comforters and one of my pillows was on fire – the fire was probably about four inches long and five inches wide and it [the explosion] literally pushed me off the bed.
“My immediate reaction was that I woke up in a panic — I stood up and started grabbing the fire with my bare hands and rolling it out.
“After I got the flames out I grabbed a water bottle I had by my bed and I had a small pocket knife besides me so I poked a hole at the top of the cap and started spraying the spots that were still smoldering and red.”
As the charging pack was ‘still on fire’ Colton then quickly threw it down the toilet and headed to his father’s room for help.
Andrew said: “Colton woke me up in a panic and said he ‘had got the fire out’ – it startled me and then he said he ‘was ok’ and that he was ‘hurt really bad.’
“I was half asleep, woke up really quickly and went to his bedroom with him and he had two large comforters on his bed which were burnt pretty bad.
“His back and arm was really badly burnt and it looked like a really bad sunburn so we didn’t go to the hospital at that point in time – I waited until the following morning and then we took him.
“I was pretty scared and confused at first and then I figured out what was going on and it was under control by then, but then I was more concerned about his back and he was in a lot of pain.
“It was a pretty good explosion – little hot sharp metal pieces basically burnt the lower end of his buttocks and back and scattered out all the way to the wall across his bed.”
Over the next day or so the extent of Colton’s injuries which covered his back and bicep became apparent.
Colton said: “The pain got progressively worse as soon as my adrenaline started wearing off.
“At first it hurt really bad, but I was more focused on getting the fire out because I have a handicapped uncle in the house and I didn’t want anything to get really really bad.
“After I had time to calm down I didn’t get any sleep for the rest of the night because it started hurting extremely badly.
“When we first went to the doctor he actually thought it was a big bruise with red burns and had me put a patch over it, and later that day I peeled it off so we could put a new one on.
“I realised that a patch of skin came off that piece of tape and I was like ‘ok that’s not a bruise at all’.”
Andrew added: “It’s basically a second degree burn – the first layer was pretty much demolished and then he had like a super bad sunburn on the second layer of skin.”
Thankfully Colton’s wounds are healing well, but his mother, sales representative Shari, wanted to raise awareness of his ordeal to prevent this from happening to anyone else.
Colton said: “I paid $10 for two charging packs and it was old so my guess is that it’s just a bad battery or something – it was supposed to be charged for 24 hours, but it blew up after three to four.”
Andrew added: “We’re not sure how old it was, it was a device bought off eBay, so it was pretty hard for us to figure out how long we’ve had it.”
Colton said: “Don’t keep charging packs with you when you’re sleeping – just have them away from you and somewhere that’s not easy to catch on fire.
“I’ll also put my phone off the side of my bed – it could cause another thing like that to happen again.
“I suggest that others don’t sleep with them either as it could happen to anyone – I never expected that.”
Andrew said: “I won’t allow it anymore – it could have been a lot worse, it was pretty scary.”