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June 20, 1977

Severe Burns From Butane Lighter Explosions

JAMA. 1977;237(25):2719-2720. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270520029010

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To the Editor.—  In the span of one month, the University of Michigan Burn Unit has admitted two patients suffering from severe third-degree burns from butane lighter explosions. Both patients are women, aged 40 and 51 years, respectively, and both have 40%, full-thickness burns to the neck, chest, abdomen, arms, and thighs. Family witnesses stated that the patients were using the lighters to light cigarettes when the lighters exploded.These incidences seem unusual in the nature of occurrence and in the short period of incidence (Feb 15, 1977, to March 16, 1977) within the metropolitan Detroit area. Currently, we are trying to ascertain the extent of these occurrences, and we would appreciate it if physicians who know of cases involving butane lighter explosions would send such information to us at the following address:Department of Respiratory Therapy E-2250 University Hospital 1405 E Ann St Ann Arbor, MI 48109