E-bike fires a 'ticking time-bomb', charity warns after Cambridge blaze kills woman and two children

Flowers left at the scene of a deadly house fire in Cambridge. Two children and a woman have died. credit ITV News Anglia
Flowers and a teddy were left at the scene of a deadly fire in Cambridge which claimed the lives of two Credit: ITV News Anglia

Emergency services face a "ticking time-bomb" of potentially devastating fires from e-powered vehicle batteries, a charity has warned.

The urgent call for change comes after an e-bike was found to be the likely cause of a Cambridge maisonette fire which killed a woman and two children on Friday.

Gemma Germeney, 31, eight-year-old Lilly Peden and four-year-old Oliver Peden died after the blaze in Sackville Close.

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

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

On Tuesday, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said it was "only a matter of time" before a bigger fire took place in a larger building as a result of the electric batteries.

Nathan Davies, from the healthy and safety campaigning society, said: “Fires from unregulated e-powered vehicle batteries are becoming commonplace and we are very concerned that we are sitting on a ticking time-bomb of cases.

"It is only a matter of time until we see a battery failure cause a devastating large-scale fire in a block of flats, hotel or public space.

“Unfortunately, e-bike batteries are designed to be charged indoors, and mostly overnight. Critically, this is where the risk to life from a fire is the greatest."

Mr Davies said that certified lithium-ion batteries could be manufactured and used instead, but that future deaths would be caused if unregulated units continue to supplied by international sellers.

The charity urged people to only buy electric battery based products from reputable sellers that comply with legislation.

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