LA CROSSE, WIS — A La Crosse vape shop caught fire this past weekend, and the plume of smoke it jettisoned into the atmosphere has blocked out the sun for most of the northern hemisphere.
Firefighters were called at 2:00 am early Saturday night for reports of “an atmospheric-changing amount of smoke” on the south side of La Crosse. Firefighters were completely blinded by the smoke and haphazardly drove around Shelby for over 30 minutes before arriving at Smokes 4 Less, the vape store located in the Shelby Mall.
“When we arrived, we assumed (the store) must be engulfed in flames because of all of the smoke, but then we realized that it was actually just the Juul display case that was on fire,” commented firefighter Daxtwin Millivanilli. “We put it out pretty quickly, but the amount of smoke the store was billowing was a combination of impressive yet obnoxious and weird. It was like the store was trying to get everyone’s attention.”
The display case was said to contain thousands of bottles of e-juice, the liquid that fuels the vape pens. Many of the burnt bottles were of the “high VG E-Juices” variety. VG stands for Vegetable Glycerine, the chemical derived from vegetable oils that give the vapor a thick sensation for the user. The higher the content of VG, the larger the vape cloud.
About an hour after the firefighters extinguished the flame, the vape cloud started raining down a variety of flavors on people in the surrounding area. The fragranced rain included strawberry, apple, watermelon, pineapple, and cherry along with about a thousand other varieties of flavors.
By 6:00 am that morning, the cloud had reached the stratosphere (approximately 30 miles), was caught in the Jet Stream, and was already making its way eastward. By 9:00 am, the cloud had consumed most of the midwest. Now 24 hours later, the mixed flavor vape cloud has nearly consumed the entire northern hemisphere blocking out the sun.
Scientists believe the cloud will slowly dissipate over the course of a few days, but long-term embarrassment of being consumed by a vape cloud will last a lifetime.
Reporter Dr. Jonathan H. Dong contributed to this article.