'Devastating' Cambridge fire that killed mum, two children and pets was caused by e-bike

  • Latest ITV News report on the Cambridges fire

Fire investigators have concluded that a blaze which killed a mum and her two young children was probably started by an electric bike.

Gemma Germeney, 31, eight-year-old Lilly Peden and four-year-old Oliver Peden died after a fire engulfed a two-storey maisonette in Sackville Close, Cambridge, at about 1am on Friday.

The children were rescued from the fire, but later died in hospital.

Ms Germeney died at the scene of the fire in the Kings Hedges area of Cambridge.

A man, believed to be the children's father, escaped the blaze but is being treated for burns to his arm.

It is understood the family's two dogs were also killed in the fire.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue said their investigation into the fire had concluded, and they believed "the most probable cause was an e-bike."

Area Commander Stuart Smith, from Cambridgeshire fire and Rescue Service, said: "Fire service and specialist fire investigators, together with police forensic teams and a fire dog, have spent the weekend carrying out a thorough investigation of the maisonette.

"A fire investigation looks for the most probable cause and in this case, we believe that to be an electric bike that was charging.

"We know e-bikes and e-scooters are popular modes of personal transport at the moment and we are urging anyone with one to be aware of the potential risks and follow simple precautions to reduce the likelihood of the batteries overheating."

Flowers left at the scene of a deadly house fire in Cambridge. Two children and a woman have died. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Meanwhile tributes have been paid to the two children who died from their school.

Sarah Merritt, Headteacher at King’s Hedges School, said: “We’re really saddened to hear about the tragic deaths of Lilly, Oliver and their mother.

 “The children were part of our King's Hedges family and the whole school is devastated by this terrible tragedy. We’re providing support to the children, teachers and parents about what has happened.

 “Our thoughts remain with the family and friends. As a school, there is no easy way to deal with this sad news, but we will get through this together.”

The fire service urged people to think about fire safety and issued the following advice about e-bikes.

  • Avoid charging the battery overnight

  • Do not leave charging for any longer than it needs to fully charge

  • Plug the cable into a main socket rather than an extension lead 

  • Do not cover the battery with anything while charging 

  • Make sure you use the battery recommended by the manufacturer

  • Always use the manufacturer approved charger for the product, and if you spot any signs of wear and tear or damage buy an official replacement charger for your product from a reputable seller

  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms on every floor of your home and in the room where you charge the bike/scooter.

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