Reports from the Bronx in New York have revealed that seven people were injured in a five-alarm blaze that gutted a grocery store. One person injured was a civilian, five were firefighters, and the sixth was an emergency service worker. The culprit? A lithium-ion battery from an electric scooter, according to fire officials.
CNN reported Sunday that nearly 200 FDNY firefighters battled the blaze. Fire department leadership confirmed to the outlet that the battery was to blame.
FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh told reporters,
“In all of these fires, these lithium-ion fires, it is not a slow burn there’s not a small amount of fire, it literally explodes. It’s a tremendous volume of fire as soon as it happens, and it’s very difficult to extinguish and so it’s particularly dangerous.”
We need to resolve this problem with the China Lithium-ion battery exploding.
Bronx fire alarm box: 4794.
Address: 2092 Grand Concourse in the Bronx.
Type of fire: EBike Lithium-ion battery fire.
Building type: One story taxpayer.
Report: Fire, extended to the roof. pic.twitter.com/5XAV0g6KHW
— Al Michael 🇺🇸 🇨🇺🚒👩🚒 (@nyc273) March 5, 2023
“We have been able to not have a loss of life today, but there is extraordinary damage. This entire building behind me is completely destroyed,” she added. “The roof is caved in, there’s nothing left, and it is all because of this one single bike.”
An incredible video of the igniting fire was posted to Twitter by the FDNY.
Per FDNY Fire Marshals, the cause of today’s 5-alarm fire at 2096 Grand Concourse in the Bronx was a lithium-ion battery which powered a scooter. pic.twitter.com/HTifRojiJo
— FDNY (@FDNY) March 5, 2023
Commissioner Kavanaugh told CNN that an investigation is required to determine why the bike’s battery burst into flames, she suggested it may have been an illegal battery.
As of this writing, it is unknown who owned the bike. Mayor Eric Adams of New York told a press conference on Sunday, “Our real push is to inform the public that something as simple and seen as recreational can be extremely dangerous and can take the lives of innocent people. This is a real problem we are having in the city.”
The former police officer continued, “A simple battery-operated scooter like this, people are leaving in their homes, they’re leaving in their place of businesses, they’re leaving in their restaurants, they leave it parked for the most part in places that really they should not be parked in.”
“The video is chilling, when you see how fast this fire started and spread, it’s just really going to give you a point of pause,” Adams said cautioning New Yorkers against keeping lithium-ion battery devices in their homes, a feat in 2023, and advising they only use legally produced batteries.
In an Op-Ed for AMNY.com, Kavanaugh wrote, “These fires start quickly, grow rapidly, offer little time to escape, consume everything in their path, and are very difficult to extinguish.” She told reporters Friday that in the past four years, there have been 400 fires started by lithium-ion batteries.
In April 2022, President Joe Biden urged all Americans to buy electric vehicles rather than concern themselves with high gas prices, a sentiment echoed by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.