Lithium-ion batteries in e-bikes and similar devices have fueled 92 fires, injured 64 people and caused nine deaths so far this year — nearly as many as the 10 deaths in 2022 and 2021 combined, according to FDNY data.
Four people died last month when a fire tore through an apartment building in Upper Manhattan on May 7.
In April, a 7-year-old child and a teenager died in a Queens home fire started by an electric bicycle battery, officials said.
In this case, people were forced to jump out of windows to escape the inferno, which erupted inside the vestibule of the two-story building at 25-71 46th St. in Astoria and quickly spread down the stairs, firefighters said.
On January 20, Modesto Collado, 63, was killed and 10 others injured after a charging e-bike battery fueled a rapid fire that engulfed a home in East Elmhurst, Queens.
The lithium-ion battery fires also killed one person in the Bronx and another in Brooklyn.
In 2021, four people died and 79 were injured in 104 fires fueled by lithium-ion batteries in homes, fire officials said.
Last year, those numbers skyrocketed: six people were killed and 142 injured in 220 battery-related fires.
Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens) introduced legislation banning scooters and e-bikes until safeguards are in place.
“The reckless rush to legalize electric mobility devices without regulation has sparked a terrifying wave of fires, injuries and tragic deaths,” Holden told the Post. “It is heartbreaking to witness the consequences of the ill-advised actions of the previous council as these incidents become more and more frequent.”
Holden wants e-scooters and e-bikes to be “registered, licensed, inspected and insured like any other motor vehicle. If we do not act, we will continue to witness the loss of precious lives.
City landlords were required to release an FDNY safety guide by April 30 warning apartment dwellers of fires caused by e-bike batteries.
Electric bikes should not be charged overnight or when residents are out, or stored near windows or exits, the FDNY warned.
They must also have approved certification marks.
Last week, the owners of a 44-story luxury apartment building on West 57th Street informed its tenants that “Effective immediately, electric micro-mobility devices, including but not limited to scooters e-bikes, e-bikes, personal e-mobility devices, light electric vehicle applications, and any other device with a lithium-ion battery, can no longer be stored in the bike rooms.
“It’s a smart move because those lithium-ion batteries are scary,” a tenant in the building told The Post. “If one of them explodes, they can all ignite.”
New York Post