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EXCLUSIVE: Queens man badly burned in e-cigarette explosion files suit against manufacturers

Otis Gooding (r.), who suffered burns after an e-cigarette exploded in his pocket, speaks to attorney Sanford Rubenstein at his home in Brooklyn.

A Queens man who was severely burned and temporarily had to use a wheelchair when an e-cigarette battery exploded in his pocket is suing the company that distributed the device.

It’s been four months after Otis Gooding’s Wismec Reuleaux RC200 vape instrument blew up while he was at work at the Central Cellar wine shop in Grand Central. But he still feels the pain.

“Sometimes the pain keeps me up in the middle of the night. Physical therapy and doctor’s appointments continue,” said Gooding.

Gooding had 51 staples placed in his leg to help heal the burns after the Nov. 23 incident that was captured on the store’s video surveillance.

Gooding shows the burns he suffered in the xplosion on his hands and leg.

The 32-year-old father spent 12 days in the hospital for injuries to his leg and right hand. Gooding continues to temporarily use a wheelchair.

“Do not use these!” warned Gooding as he struggled to speak because of the discomfort he feels from his injuries, adding, “I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

Gooding’s attorney Sanford Rubenstein filed a lawsuit in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Wednesday against Dongguan Wismec Electronics Co., LTD., LG Chem, Ltd. and Shenzhen Fest Technology Co., Ltd. — the China and South Korea-based manufacturers and owners of the batteries, charger and e-cigarettes.

“Sometimes the pain keeps me up in the middle of the night. Physical therapy and doctor’s appointments continue,” Otis Gooding said.

“It is important for the public to know the dangers that exist with e-cigarette batteries,” said Rubenstein, who also named the Beyond Vape store on Canal St. that sold Gooding the devices in the lawsuit, seeking an unspecified amount for treatment for the second-and third-degree burns.

Pierre Ngygen, the owner of Beyond Vape, refuted selling Gooding faulty batteries and warned the burned man and other customers on how to store the batteries.

“The device he used takes three batteries. We tell all our customers to keep all three in separate places — in the device, charger or case. He had extra batteries alongside coins, I saw it in the pictures. Metal touching metal caused the batteries to discharge,” said Ngygen, 33.

Pierre Ngygen, the owner of Beyond Vape, refuted selling Gooding faulty batteries and warned the burned man and other customers on how to store the batteries.

After Gooding’s incident, Beyond Vape has customers sign a waiver and gives them handouts explaining how to store the batteries.

Since 2009, Rubenstein said there were 98 cases of exploding e-cigarettes including one involving 24-year-old Ricardo Jimenez, whose thigh was burned within days of Gooding’s incident.

Rubenstein called on the Federal Drug Administration to ban the sale of all e-cigarettes until the manufacturers correct the defects.

Gooding’s Wismec Reuleaux RC200 vape smoking instrument, which now comes with a warning about how to properly store the batteries when bought at Beyond Vape.

“Until manufacturers identify and correct the product causing e-cigarettes and their batteries from exploding, I call on federal, state and local elected officials to ban them from being carried on public transportation, buses and trains that pose a threat to the safety of the public,” said Rubenstein.

The lawyer said he has not received any feedback for his request of a ban from the MTA or members of its board.

"Like regular cigarettes, customers are prohibited from using e-cigarettes in our system. However, stopping customers from possessing them is not feasible to enforce,” said Beth DeFalco, a spokeswoman for the MTA.

In September, the authority warned riders to turn off their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones while aboard public transportation following reports that the devices catch fire.