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Massive fire that tore through Bronx building sparked by e-bike battery: FDNY

By Thomas Tracy, New York Daily News,

2022-01-08

A massive fire that tore through a six-story Bronx building early Saturday, seriously injuring a firefighter, was sparked by a charging e-bike battery in a ground-floor restaurant, FDNY officials said.

The e-bike was being charged inside the Caridad Restaurant on Grand Concourse at E. 182nd St. in Fordham Heights about 2 a.m. when the bike’s lithium-ion battery caught fire, the FDNY said.

The fire quickly spread, causing extensive damage.

More than 160 firefighters and EMS members were called in to put out the fire and treat the injured. The blaze was brought under control within an hour.

Two firefighters were injured, one seriously, an FDNY spokesman said. The firefighter was taken to a local hospital for treatment. No residents were injured.

Restaurant workers had several e-bikes charging inside the restaurant overnight.

“One failed and burst into flames,” an FDNY source said.

The Grand Concourse blaze was the first e-bike battery fire in this city this year — but part of a growing concern, FDNY officials said.

E-bike and scooter batteries sparked 104 fires last year across the city, including a fatal fire in the East Village where two teens were forced to shinny down a pipe to safety .

A resident of that building was charging nine e-bike batteries inside his fourth-floor apartment when they caught fire. The explosive force of the blaze blew out the windows and a wall.

Last year’s lithium-ion battery fires caused 79 injuries and four deaths, FDNY officials said.

The batteries sparked 44 fires in 2020 and 28 in 2019, but the number of blazes increase as devices like e-bikes and scooters become more popular.

Factory-installed scooter batteries seem safe and adhere to industry standards , safety experts say. The batteries that tend to combust are “after market” items e-bike users buy online or in scooter stores as supplements or replacements for the battery that came with the device, FDNY officials said.

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