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Hot story: Miami lawyer’s pants erupt in flames during arson trial in court

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Above: Miami lawyer Stephen Gutierrez was arguing an arson case in trial on Wednesday when his pants caught on fire.

Miami Herald, March 9, 2017-- A Miami defense lawyer’s pants burst into flames Wednesday afternoon as he began his closing arguments in front of a jury — in an arson case.

Stephen Gutierrez, who was arguing that his client’s car spontaneously combusted and was not intentionally set on fire, had been fiddling in his pocket as he was about to address jurors when smoke began billowing out his right pocket, witnesses told the Miami Herald.

He rushed out of the Miami courtroom, leaving spectators stunned. After jurors were ushered out, Gutierrez returned unharmed, with a singed pocket, and insisted it wasn’t a staged defense demonstration gone wrong, observers said.

Instead, Gutierrez blamed a faulty battery in an e-cigarette, witnesses told the Miami Herald
“It was surreal,” one observer told the Miami Herald.

Repeated calls to Gutierrez’s cellphone went unanswered. Miami-Dade police and prosecutors are now investigating the episode. Officers seized several frayed e-cigarette batteries as evidence.

“A lot of people could have been hurt,” another observer in court told the Miami Herald.

Gutierrez was representing Claudy Charles, 48, who is accused of intentionally setting his car on fire in South Miami-Dade. He had just started his closing arguments when the fire broke out. Jurors convicted Charles anyway of second-degree arson.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman, in the coming days, could decide to hold Gutierrez in contempt of court.

The 28-year-old lawyer graduated from Florida International University’s law school in 2015.
With millions of users across the country, e-cigarettes deliver vaporized nicotine through a heated liquid solution. But questions about the health and fire risks of the products have mounted, with the U.S. Department of Transportation recently banning e-cigarettes from checked bags on airplanes.

Read the article HERE

































Photos of other e-cigarrette accidents (these blew up in the victims' faces while vaping):





Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine in a vapor form by heating a solution commonly comprised of propylene glycol, nicotine, and flavoring ingredients. Since entering the U.S. market in 2007, e-cigarettes have attracted a growing supply of consumers, and sales are expected to increase in the years ahead. Safety concerns have been raised by incidents involving e-cigarette fires and explosions.   

Since most of the incidences of e-cigarette explosions occur when charging is taking place, injuries are fewer than incidences of a fire spreading. Still, with faulty batteries and negligent use, some e-cigarettes have exploded in user's hands, pockets, and mouth, resulting in burns and mainly topical injuries.

Saftety tips to avoid explosions of e-cigarettes HERE