NYC Apartment Fire Caused by Electric Bike Battery Injures Nearly 40 People

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Samizdat – 06.11.2022

The fire was caused by a lithium-ion battery which power micro mobility devices like electric scooters, bikes, and hoverboards. The New York Fire Department (FDNY) reported that they found five electric bikes in the fire.

At least 38 people were injured in a fire on the 20th floor of a New York City apartment building on Saturday. City officials said that a majority of the victims suffered from smoke inhalation, while two victims were left in critical condition.

The fire erupted on Saturday on the 20th floor of a high-rise apartment complex at 429 East 52nd Street in Manhattan at about 10 AM. Firefighters found five electric bikes as the source of the fire, and wrote on social media to remind the public of the dangers of lithium-ion batteries.

“The cause of this fire is a lithium ion battery which is meant to power a micro mobility device. This is our 200th fire this year caused by lithium ion batteries from micro mobility devices. The fire was right behind the front door, we recovered at least five bikes from the apartment. We want to stress our lithium ion safety tips,” said Daniel Flynn who is the Chief Fire Marshal of the FDNY, who adds that at least six people have died due to lithium ion battery fires this year.

Authorities believe someone in the apartment was repairing the electric bikes and are investigating the resident’s business activity. The FDNY added that fire protection and planning at the building will also be investigated.

“The alarm didn’t go off, but it seemed like everyone got the memo and started going out,” said a 26-year-old resident of the building.

“I run down the stairs, and as I’m running out on the courtyard, the window bursts and glass flies around as I’m on the phone with my mom screaming for my life,” said a 23-year-old resident of the building, who said she only first became aware of the fire after smelling smoke from the fire.

A video captured and posted to social media shows firefighters hanging by ropes from a window as they attempt to rescue a woman from the 20th floor of the building.

“What we saw today was our training, our team work, and our absolute dedication,” said Frank Leeb, the Deputy Assistant Chief of the FDNY. “From the units that operated up there with the lifesaving rope to passing them off to our exceptionally trained EMS personnel to get these patients all off scene in a matter of a couple of minutes and off to local hospitals.”

“The lithium-ion battery adds a different degree when we talk about the fire dynamics of it,” Leebs added. “These rooms flash over in just a mere matter of seconds.”