A severely burned Florida man who also lost some of his teeth and parts of his tongue is when an electronic cigarette exploded in his mouth is recovering in the hospital, fire officials said on Wednesday.

“The best analogy is like it was trying to hold a bottle rocket in your mouth when it went off,” said Joseph Parker, division chief for the North Bay Fire Department to AP. “The battery flew out of the tube and set the closet on fire.”

Fire Chief Joseph Miller told AP that the victim had contacted the department on Wednesday to thank firefighters and he told them that he was recovering in an Alabama hospital and was expecting to be released later in the day.

Although officials did not publically identify the man because of department policy, a Facebook page under the name of Tom Holloway of Niceville was packed with comments on the injury, and AP reported that database searchers matched his address on the fire report with his name.

Holloway, 57, was in his home when a faulty battery on the device caused it to explode. The explosion destroyed some carpet, chair cushions, pictures and office equipment. The fire report indicated that a charred battery case that appeared to be from the cigar-sized device was found on a piece of melted carpet.

The report also indicated that people who had been in the house the time the electronic cigarette exploded rushed to the smoke-filled room and attempted to extinguish the fire with salt.

Parker told AP that authorities do not know the brand of the electronic cigarette, the type of battery or how old the exploding device was. However he did that the battery appeared to be rechargeable lithium because a recharging station and other batteries were in the room.

Authorities have forwarded information about the blaze to the fire marshal’s office to be included in records on the devices. Parker told AP he had not heard of any similar cases, and reports show that Holloway had let firefighters take the burned case and other undamaged ones with them as samples for documentation in a national database.

However, Holloway had asked for the burned case to be returned which Parker said could be used as evidence in any litigation.

Modified-risk tobacco products like electronic cigarettes and cigars have been increasingly popular even though their safety is widely debated. They consist of a nicotine cartridge and a battery that creates an electrical charge that releases the nicotine vapor. Users can inhale nicotine without the smoke from a traditional cigarette.

Electronic cigarettes are not currently regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and up until now the debate has generally centered on the health risks associated with nicotine chemicals that some have argued could be more toxic than regular cigarettes and federal regulatory issues, but this week’s explosion will raise more immediate safety concerns.

Although the FDA had posted a earning about the devices on its website in October that said that electronic cigarettes were addictive and contain toxic chemicals like nicotine that could encourage children to try other tobacco products.

The FDA website also indicated that in 2010 it sent letters to some e-cigarette manufacturers for violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act such as "violations of good manufacturing practices, making unsubstantiated drug claims and using the devices as delivery mechanisms for active pharmaceutical ingredients," according to the federal agency’s website.

Thomas Kiklas, co-founder of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, had told AP that the industry did not know of any cigarettes or batteries exploding, and he said that a federal report revealed that 2.5 million Americans used e-cigarettes in 2011.

"There have been billions and billions of puffs on the cigarettes and we have not heard of this happening before," he told AP.

Kiklas also wrote on his site that it is too early to jump to any conclusion about possible product failure.

However Medical Daily had reported in December that the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences that offers health advice to federal agencies, had stressed in a consensus report, requested by the FDA, objective research is needed to determine the safety of the alternative tobacco products that companies are saying is healthier than traditional tobacco products.

The IOM specifically stated that FDA cannot rely on research from tobacco companies because industry, especially Big Tobacco, study results are unreliable.

“The industry’s history of improper manipulation of data undermined the credibility of its research and left it isolated from the mainstream scientific community,” the IOM had said in a release.

IOM advised that modified-risk tobacco products like e-cigarettes and tobacco lozenges, must go through a “wide range of scientific evidence including the composition and performance of the MRTP, perceptions about the risks and benefits of the MRTP, the addictive potential of the MRTP, and its human health effects” by objective researchers before FDA is to approve the devices to be marketed as low-risk.

Later that month, researchers had also revealed that the results reported from an original study by American cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris deceived smokers about the safety of cigarette additives.

Researchers Centre for Tobacco Control Research at the University of California had reanalyzed the data from a decade old study by scientists working for the tobacco firm that original concluded that there was “no evidence of substantial toxicity” associated with the additives studied.

The latest research found that the original “Project Mix” tobacco sponsored study and found that 15 different poisonous chemicals increased by an average of 20 percent, and for “unexplained reasons” Philip Morris had purposely de-emphasized 19 of the 51 chemicals tested in their results which included nine of the 15 chemicals that were significantly increased.

Researchers had analyzed over about 60 million pages of documents from the tobacco industry that had been turned over during litigation and concluded that industry studies “cannot be taken at face value” and were designed to intentionally hide the dangers of the additives.