induced a 12 months’s price of fires in final two months, New York hearth chief warns

23 induced a 12 months’s price of fires in final two months, New York hearth chief warns

Battery-powered transportation soared in recognition through the pandemic, however the gadgets have since turn into ticking time bombs

Lithium-ion batteries utilized in digital bikes and scooters induced extra fires within the final two months than in all of 2019, the New York Metropolis Hearth Division’s (FDNY) chief hearth marshall has informed the New York Publish. 

The FDNY recorded 30 fires involving lithium batteries in 2019, a quantity that greater than tripled to 104 in 2021, and soared to 268 final 12 months. Within the first two months of 2024, 31 such fires had already been recorded, with the blazes inflicting 26 accidents and one loss of life, in response to figures cited by the Publish

Indian journalist Fazil Khan was killed final week when a lithium ion battery caught hearth within the hallway of a Harlem condominium. Residents on greater flooring had been trapped contained in the constructing, with 18 different folks struggling accidents. 

Chief Hearth Marshall Daniel Flynn informed the newspaper that e-bikes and scooters soared in recognition through the coronavirus pandemic, when unemployed folks purchased the gadgets to work in “gig financial system” supply jobs. 

“Individuals purchased these gadgets some three years in the past, and now they’re growing older,” Flynn stated, stating that shoddy repairs and substitute of particular person battery cells – somewhat than whole battery items – enhance the danger of lethal fires.

“We’ve seen folks attempt to repair it or modify it themselves, go to outlets from unauthorized distributors or take it on themselves to exchange the outdated batteries,” he stated. “We inform folks to not go along with the most cost effective choice and search out the producer instantly.”

Lithium-ion batteries can catch hearth in the event that they overheat, or if the physique of the battery is punctured. Lithium can burn violently on contact with air, and as soon as began, lithium fires are unimaginable to extinguish with water, because the burning chemical merely makes use of the oxygen contained in water as gasoline.

The FDNY has shaped a Lithium-ion Job Pressure to fight the issue, and officers commonly examine companies that provide to restore particular person battery cells. 

“They kill folks, they’ve killed folks, and they’ll kill extra folks if companies proceed to function on this method,” Hearth Commissioner Laura Kavanagh warned final month. 

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