One of the fires, which occurred in an apartment building in the East Village, killed a man and left a woman in critical condition.
New York, NY — Several New York City fires in residential buildings were reportedly caused by e-bike batteries in the last few months, according to fire investigators.
One of the fires, which occurred in an apartment building in the East Village, killed a man and left a woman in critical condition, while her children (aged 13 and 18) were left using a pole to climb down the side of the building to escape the flames. The teenagers were hospitalized with injuries caused by the fire, but were in stable condition. The fire, which was contained to the family’s fourth floor apartment, is reported to have been caused by multiple e-bikes that were left to charge overnight. There were seven e-bikes in the apartment in total.
Another fire in the Bronx has been attributed to e-bike charging by fire investigators. This fire was much larger in scale than the East Village fire, but caused no fatalities. 150 firefighters and EMS personnel rushed to the scene and got the flames under control by 5 a.m, after four alarms were set off and multiple 911 calls reported the fire at approximately 2 a.m. One firefighter was hospitalized as a result of the fire. Fire officials from the building have traced the source of the flames to the ground floor, where delivery workers stored their e-bikes. It is believed that the fire sparked from one of the lithium ion batteries used in the e-bikes.
When damaged or overcharged, the lithium ion batteries that power e-bikes can release hydrogen gas and explode violently. There were 93 fires caused by lithium ion batteries in 2021.
But e-bikes are far from the only thing that uses lithium ion batteries as a power source. In fact, lithium ion batteries are one of the most used and produced battery types worldwide (next to nickel-manganese-cobalt batteries), powering everything from smartphones and electric toothbrushes to electric cars and backup solar energy storage.
The lithium-ion battery is responsible for the unprecedented growth of these new and innovative personal transportation devices. New York Personal injury lawyer Glenn Herman who, as an avid cyclist himself, specializes in bicycle injury cases, comments on E-bike fires: E-bike and e-scooter ownership has skyrocketed in New York City since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Unfortunately, so has the incidence of e-bike fires. The rate of fires in 2021 doubled that of 2020 and were responsible for three deaths. As the owner of an e-bike and an e-scooter, the issue of a battery fire is very close to home to me. The following tips from the New York City Fire Department will help to keep us safe:
Purchase and use devices that are certified by a qualified testing laboratory.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging and storage.
Do not charge a device under your pillow, on your bed, or near a couch.
Always use the manufacturer’s cord and power adapter made specifically for the device.
Do not use aftermarket batteries.
Keep batteries and devices at room temperature. Do not place them in direct sunlight.
Store batteries away from anything flammable.
If a battery overheats or you notice an odor, a change in shape or color, leaking, or odd noises, stop using it immediately.
If the battery reacts in an alarming way, and it is safe to do so, move the device away from anything that can catch fire and call 911.
Do not leave e-bikes unattended while they’re charging, and don’t leave them charging overnight.
Do not block your primary way into and out of the building with an e-bike.
Do not leave an e-bike in a child’s room.
The Fire Department also warns that when you need to dispose of a used rechargeable or lithium-ion battery, it’s illegal in New York City to throw them out with the regular trash or recycling. Old batteries should be taken to a facility that recycles batteries. The number of e-bikes that are being used in The City are increasing daily, especially with the many delivery services we have. Following the above tips can prevent fires that can result in serious injuries and death.
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Source: Herman & Herman, P.C
Release ID: 174577