A WORKMAN has been scarred for life with third-degree burns after his vape melted his trousers and exploded "like a rocket."

Scaffolder David Charlton, 52, had just arrived at work when he heard a fizzing noise from the left pocket of his tracksuit bottoms.
David Charlton was left with intense scarring after his unbranded vape pen exploded in his pocket when he arrived at work

Seconds later his trousers were on fire as the vape melted through the fabric and fell onto the seat of the van - where it exploded with "an almighty boom".

The father-of-two, who had been vaping for eight years, was rushed to hospital where medics had to peel off the melted fabric and perform skin grafts.

David, from Crawcrook, Gateshead, will be scarred for life and is warning others to only buy vape kits from reputable brands.

I've never felt anything like that before. So dangerous. It was excruciating pain. My leg was literally on fire
David Charlton

He said: "It went off like a rocket. It was an almighty boom. Everybody froze.

"There was this bizarre moment when I was stood in the middle of the yard without my pants on, because they were on fire.

"But the explosion was unbelievable really. What if it had still been in my pocket?

"I've never felt anything like that before. So dangerous.

"It was excruciating pain. My leg was literally on fire."

David had just arrived to work when he heard a fizzing noise at around 7 am on June 21.

Ten seconds later, the vape battery set his tracksuit bottoms on fire, and melted through them, falling out of his pocket onto David's seat where it left a huge hole.

He said: "It got hotter and hotter until eventually, the battery went up in flames.

"I was yelping, trying to put the flames out. But it was no use.

"The battery had melted through my tracksuit bottoms, melting the material onto my skin, which had to be peeled later, and onto the seat.

"The guys at work came over to get me out of the van - and then it exploded.

"For 10 minutes after, I was in a state of shock, really. I couldn't feel anything.

"Someone gave me some trousers to put back on when someone pointed out that I needed to go to the hospital.

"It was when I was on my way to the hospital, with my leg up on the dashboard, that the pain really kicked in - and it was bloody painful."

He was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he was given morphine before he was transferred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

A few days later when the wounds became infected, he was admitted to the hospital's burns unit, and had skin grafted from the back of his left leg.

David, who has been with his partner Lynn, 42, for 25 years, had been off work for three weeks and visited the hospital every other day to have the dressing changed and leg treated.

David said it hasn't impaired his ability to walk and is "glad to have both legs".

A smoker for 20 years, eight of which he's vaped, David is urging all vapers to make sure they check the source of the vape batteries they buy.

His unbranded vape was purchased from an independent high street retail outlet.