Can Lighters Blow Up?

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chinese cigarette lighter blew up in the sun

Can lighters blow up in the sun? I honestly before never expected that a lighter left out in the sun would blow up. But if they are Chinese and cheap, I discovered by accident, they can. Last year, I was warned not to leave any lighters in the vehicle as they could blow up, and cause damage to the interior of the vehicle, but I put this up to most likely some myth. I never looked into it, but it had been my experience that even in the hot humid summers I’ve experienced in Southern Ontario, the lighters I have purchased have never blown up, and I have regularly kept a spare lighter in the car, and even left them in the sun, in the hot summer months.

Today I learned that not only is it possible for a lighter to blow up, it could have been really dangerous if things had happened differently. While I doubt it would have killed me, I’ve no doubt that I could have suffered some serious injury if things had occurred in a different way – a difference of, I guess, a 90 degree angle.

About 2:30 pm local time, I went up to the roof to have my afternoon coffee, and take a break with plans to do some reading while having a smoke. The sun was shining brightly, and I figured it would be a good time to soak up a few rays for an hour, while giving my body the ability to create some Vitamin D. I meandered up the 3 flights of spiral stairs with a mug of coffee, my notebook, a pen, my cell phone open to an e-book I wanted to read, my smokes, my pen, and of course, a lighter.

The sun was in a perfect position to shine down on the area where I had recently set up a table and chair where I could do some work or reading, away from the madding crowd, and if I wanted, I could also take a few steps toward the edge and have a view of the park down below, or on the other side, a view of the roofs of the neighbours. That’s not such a great view – staring at the ubiquitous solar paneled water heaters on just about everyone’s roof in the direction of west, but south-east is a nice view of trees, children playing, and birds flocking together, and flitting from the trees to the ground, often trying to find food left behind by humans.

Today, I emptied my pockets of my pen, pack of smokes, mobile phone, and put my notebook on the table. I lit up a smoke, threw the cigarette lighter on the table, took of my shirt, and sat down. I turned on my Orangeville cell phone for the first time in about three weeks as well, and checked messages (there were a couple), and then sat down and thought I might try to read one of my books.

Before I had even my third sip of coffee or finished that first smoke, I suddenly heard a “boom” followed instantaneously by a sound of something striking the corrugated metal shelter that was nearby, on the roof, and that is used for storage.

“What the heck?” I thought as I jumped up. It was loud enough that the neighbours could have heard the noise. My first thought was that someone might have fired a ball with a slingshot and had hit the storage structure with it, with a great enough force to make the sound that I had heard. But I doubted this and wondered if something had been dropped from the sky somehow. I would not say I was in shock by the noise, but it was loud enough and strong enough to make me think something crazy had just happened.

I got up out of my chair to investigate and see if I could figure what had just happened. I examined the corrugated metal storage area, and didn’t see much on the sides of it – but then when I looked down, I saw the lighter, or what was left of it, that I had placed on the table, just a few minutes before. When I write, “few minutes,” that is true; it was no more than five minutes. The lighter was in two pieces, on the surface of the roof, and about a foot away, almost directly in between the table and the side of the corrugated metal storage area I was sitting beside.

It had literally, blown up in the sun while sitting on the table, and the force had caused it to fly in probably a 45 degree angle, ultimately hitting the metal which made the sound of something similar to a ball bearing hitting it with a strong force.

The temperature here hit 33C. Of course, it was likely hotter in the full sun, but even still, I never expected a lighter to actually blow up. Even back in Ontario, which is about 43.9 degrees north latitude, and even when I’ve travelled south to parts of Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, etc. I’ve never had a lighter blow up when left in the sun. For reference, Nea Ionia, Attica, Greece lies on the 38th latitude north – still a long way from the equator. Northern Florida, latitudinally speaking, is still south of Athens, Greece.

When I inspected the lighter further, along with the area of the roof where the two parts of it ended up, I realized that the clear plastic part that contained the butane gas (I’m assuming it was butane) had utterly disappeared. There was no sign of it, no pieces of it, and I guess when the lighter exploded, the heat totally consumed that part. Three tiny batteries that powered a light in the lighter still existed, and still worked, however.

I honestly never every thought that lighter would be manufactured in such a way that it could explode by simply being left in the sun. And then I looked at the other side of the lighter, and saw the word, in big capital letters, “CHINA.”

Chinese stuff is cheap, but it’s also mostly shit, generally speaking. I realize you can get some decent stuff from this insane politically run country, (funny enough, our Canadian Prime Minister is on record as “admiring” Chinese governance), but for the most part, it’s shit and crap, and dangerous.

If that lighter had been sitting on another angle, and it’s trajectory when it blew up was the exact opposite, it’s very likely I’d be sitting in a hospital right now, with some pretty serious injuries to my face or upper body.

I don’t know if a well made Bic lighter would ever blow up while sitting in the direct sun; I’ve never seen it happen and I’ve had many years of experience of throwing them on a table outdoors in the sunlight, even above temps of 33C and direct sunlight, and have never seen it happen. But in five minutes, this crappy Chinese made one might have destroyed my face.

I think it’s time to tell the Chinese that they have not done enough in their quest to appear as somewhat business friendly. They are actually pretty monstrous, and I doubt if I had suffered injury, that I could ever take the China manufacturer to court for any harm or injury their lousy shitty product could have caused.

And that’s why I know that my western values system is far superior to the CCP (and many other places progressives love to look at).

Anyhow, a new adventure here today. Lighters can blow up in direct sunlight. If they are cheap Chinese shit, for sure.



4 thoughts on “Can Lighters Blow Up?”

    1. Thanks for the comment! Holy cow indeed 🙂 No more Chinese lighters for me! 🙂 I know… I know…I should probably give up smoking, but … there could be worse things, like being hit in the head by an exploding lighter 🙂

  1. It is very tempting to buy the cheap Chinese stuff and those lighters. Convenience stores offer them for sale at discounted price right on their counter. Most of the time they only last for a few flicks.

    A few flicks and then they blow up.

    1. Tell me about it! A local convenience store I used to frequent would give away a cheap Chinese made lighter – for nothing – if you purchased a pack of smokes from them.

      Considering the low profit margin on cigarettes – you can imagine perhaps (at least I can) just how cheap they are.

      And they are so cheap, they’re only good for a few lights then they fall apart and can’t be lit anymore.

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