NEW YORK (PIX11) — Fires caused by lithium-ion batteries, found in e-bikes and e-scooters, are skyrocketing across the nation, according to fire officials.
Here at home, the FDNY is teaming up with the Fire Safety Research Institute and several other organizations for a nationwide campaign addressing the potential risks of lithium-ion batteries.
“It’s been a very, very long time, decades if not longer since a new technology has come out of nowhere and become the leading cause of fire deaths in any city, and so that is an extraordinary challenge we face,” said New York City Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. “We absolutely have to do something about it.”
The Take C.H.A.R.G.E. campaign comes just days after the city’s most recent fire sparked by a lithium-ion battery, that killed 3 family members and injured 14 others in Crown Heights Sunday.
Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh says this year alone, the city has seen 239 fires caused by the batteries, resulting in 124 injuries and 17 deaths. As lithium-ion battery fires have been on the rise since 2021, the FDNY released a new PSA Wednesday warning people about the batteries and educating them on tips for safer use.
As we enter the holiday season, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission fears products that use lithium-ion batteries will be gifted across the nation. They’re now working to get dangerous batteries removed from the marketplace. Robert Kaye is the director of the Office of Compliance and Field Operations for the CPSC.
“We will be looking very hard at whether the products are properly certified,” said Kaye. “We also have pressed e-commerce platforms, Amazon, Walmart, Facebook Marketplace, E-bay, and the like to be vigilante to keep uncertified products off of their marketplaces so they’re not available to consumers to buy.”
According to Kavanagh, fire deaths typically ramp up in the winter due to heaters and electrical issues, but with lithium-ion batteries now being the number two cause of fires in the city, she said the department will be releasing more PSAs to get the word out about the dangers of e-bikes.