WYANDOTTE, Mich. (WJBK) - This vet survived combat overseas but an explosion here at home nearly killed him.
An alternative to smoking with a vapor pen put a Wyandotte man in the hospital.
"I pushed it and it just exploded - a big boom louder than a shotgun going off," said Sgt. Jason Diekman.
It's safe to say this vaporizer pen was the bomb. Thankfully the pen was not in his mouth, just his hand.
"This thing fired up out of my hands, hit the wall," he said.
His arm was scorched.
"I went to put the ointment on the other day and skin just ripped off."
His thumb could have nerve damage.
"There's a bunch of shrapnel in there."
And part of his abdomen burned black.
"It's for real, like charred black," he said. "Like charcoal."
Diekman was smoking or vaping a Pharaoh vapor pen, it's like an e-cigarette. A safer alternative to smoking tobacco unless of course, it goes boom.
"It shot up here and put holes in the wall," he said. "I'm thinking it would've shot in my mouth and probably stabbed me in my neck or something. And the first person that would come in was my 8-year old son he's going to find me here with my face all blown up. Bleeding everywhere."
Diekman learned legislation protects stores that sell vapor pens from lawsuits and because a Chinese company made the pen, it will be practically impossible to go after it in court.
"It's just crazy because none of these boxes have warnings saying they can explode in your hand or anything," Diekman said. "That's what you get - left with a bunch of bills and you know, 'Sorry about your luck.'"
And that from a veteran who survived tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Make it through all of that, come home and a vapor cigarette almost takes me out," he said. "It's crazy."
It's not the first time a vapor pen or e-cigarette blew up in someone's hand or mouth. Earlier this year an e-cigarette battery blew up in a Texas man's pocket.
"It was like a firecracker," he said in an interview. "It made the same exact noise a whishing like sound then a burning sensation."
As for Diekman, he took to vaping after kicking his tobacco habit. Now let's just say the close call could be cause for a relapse.
FOX 2: "You would have been better off smoking?"
"Yes, sir," he said. "It's a deadly alternative but it's at least a long, long way (away) and not going to blow up in my face and kill me."
FOX 2 is still waiting to hear back from the company that made the Pharaoh vapor pen and also reached out to Diekman's congresswoman Debbie Dingell to find out if there's anything that can be done in Washington, D.C. to hold foreign companies responsible when their products are defective.