Fire chiefs warn about lithium-ion batteries after spate of fires

  • Lithium-ion batteries are now a leading cause of fire in NYC
  • 2023: Lithium-ion batteries caused 270 fires, injured 150 people, killed 18
  • Fire chiefs want federal legislation that would establish safety standards

(NewsNation) — Lithium-ion batteries are now a leading cause of fire and fire deaths in New York City, according to reports, and the problem is spreading across the country.

Last month, a fire ignited by a lithium-ion battery at a Harlem apartment building killed a 27-year-old man, making him the city’s first fatality this year related to the batteries.

It was the 31st time this year that a malfunctioning lithium-ion battery sparked a fire, leaving close to 30 people injured.

The New York City Fire Department said lithium-ion battery fires caused 270 fires, injured 150 people and killed 18 in 2023.

The FDNY has run public service announcements warning people about the dangers of the batteries, especially those that aren’t certified and don’t meet safety standards.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, sales of e-bikes skyrocketed with delivery workers and messengers buying in bulk. There are now more than 65,000 e-bikes in New York City, and many of them have expiring batteries.

Many of the deadliest fires have been caused by e-devices being stored in homes and apartments, according to officials. Also, people are buying cheap and dangerous replacement batteries that often explode while charging.

FDNY Fire Marshal Daniel Flynn recently addressed lawmakers on Capitol Hill about the deadly batteries.

“The smoke from these devices is so toxic that, if it reaches your apartment, you’re immediately overcome by the toxic gas,” Flynn said.

Fire chiefs around the country are trying to inform and warn the public about how dangerous lithium-ion batteries can be. The situation is getting more and more deadly as fires occur. Now, fire chiefs are asking for federal legislation that would establish safety standards.

In New York City, council members are trying to pass legislation that would require e-bike owners to register with the state and get a license plate in order to operate the bikes legally.


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