SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) – A man escaped a motel room fire started by an e-cigarette by fleeing out of a bathroom window in Santa Rosa early Wednesday morning, a fire battalion chief said.

The unidentified man in his 50s was handling one of several e-cigarettes on a bed in a room at the Gold Coin Motel at 2400 Mendocino Ave. around 12:25 a.m., Santa Rosa Fire Battalion Chief Ken Sebastiani said.

The device had been taken apart and was not plugged in, Sebastiani said.

When the man returned to the room from a bathroom break, the mattress was burning and he tried to smother the flames with clothing, Sebastiani said.

The man then lifted the mattress to flip it over and that spread the flames further. The man fled out of the window because the burning mattress was blocking the door, according to Sebastiani.

A damaged battery in the e-cigarette or the battery touching another metal might have sparked the blaze, the battalion chief said.

Firefighters arrived within five minutes of the alarm and found the room engulfed in flames. They contained the fire to the room and extinguished it within 20 minutes, Sebastiani said. An adjacent room sustained minimal water damage.

Damage to the burned room is estimated at $50,000, Sebastiani said.

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