UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) — Two people were rushed to the hospital with serious life-threatening injuries after a suspected lithium-ion battery fire in Manhattan Monday morning.
Fire officials responded to a call at 2612 Broadway on the Upper West Side just after 6 a.m. Firefighters discovered flames on the second floor of a nine-story building.
Twenty units with 77 firefighters responded to the scene. The fire was under control by 6:45 a.m.
Fire officials said lithium-ion batteries were present on the scene. A charred e-scooter was recovered from the wreckage.
“A neighbor woke me up,” said William Dillon, who lives in the building. “And it was a smell of burning plastic on the eighth floor, and it turns out it was on the second floor. It was a strong smell.”
Dillon said he feels helpless because he can’t control whether his neighbors own e-bikes or e-scooters. “You don’t have control over your neighbors, period,” said Dillon. “There’s not an awful lot you can do.”
The fire marshal’s office is working to determine the official cause of the fire.
Lithium-ion batteries have sparked 243 fires so far in 2023, causing 124 injuries and 17 deaths, according to the FDNY. In 2022, the batteries caused 220 fires and six deaths.
The FDNY announced last week it is joining a nationwide campaign to address 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,” said FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. “That is an extraordinary challenge we face.”