Firefighters issue e-bike warning after ‘ferocious’ blaze destroys house

·2 min read
e bike
e bike

Firefighters have issued a warning to e-bike users after a fire, believed to have been caused by a malfunctioning battery, destroyed the ground floor of a house in East London.

Two women, a man and two children were taken to hospital after inhaling smoke during the incident.

Investigators for the London Fire Brigade (LFB) believe the fire started accidentally after the batteries of a converted e-bike malfunctioned.

The LFB said that knock-off chargers for e-bikes could be potentially hazardous and warned they were seeing a significant rise in the number of fires involving the devices.

They urged people not to charge bikes overnight as the fires caused by malfunctioning batteries could spread rapidly and with “ferocity”.

The LFB was called to the scene on Roland Road in Walthamstow, shortly before 5pm on July 3 and managed to get the fire under control just before 7pm.

An LFB spokesman said: “It’s incredibly concerning that we are continuing to see a rise in incidents involving e-bikes and e-scooters.”

This year alone fire crews have already attended 32 fires involving e-bikes and another seven involving e-scooters.

So far in 2022, there have been a further 17 fires involving other lithium-ion batteries and last year, in total there were more than 100 fires in the capital involving lithium-ion batteries.

The spokesman continued: “When these batteries and chargers fail, they do so with ferocity and, because the fires develop so rapidly, the situation can quickly become incredibly serious.

“Lithium-ion batteries are susceptible to failure if incorrect chargers are used and there is a significant risk posed by e-bikes which have been converted, such as in this case.”

The spokesman said that the majority of the fires were started by e-bikes purchased from online marketplaces, which may not meet correct safety standards.

They added: “Our advice is to try to store and charge these items in a safe location if possible, such as in a shed or garage. If they have to be stored inside, make sure there is smoke detection fitted and your means of escape is not obstructed.

“Make sure they are charged in a room where there is smoke detection and on a hard, flat surface. We would also suggest people try not to charge them when they are asleep, so that if there is an issue they can react quickly.”