Lancaster dad says family have 'lost everything' after e-bike fire

Video report by Granada Reports Correspondent Ann O'Connor

A man who bought an e-bike as a present for his 11-year-old son says he has "lost everything" after it caught on fire and destroyed his home.

It comes as charity Electrical Safety First calls for legislation requiring batteries for e-bikes and e-scooters to be regulated like fireworks and heavy machinery to better ensure their safety.

Andrew Beaton, 60, from Lancaster says it was only because his son went to get a drink in the night that his, his wife and his two children's lives were saved.

This is Andrew Beaton's home following the fire. Credit: ITV Granada

Andrew said: "My son heard a pop, pop, pop. He went to go back upstairs and 'bang', the bike exploded.

"Everything's gone, we lost everything within three of four minutes. Everything is burnt out.

"We've lost all my kid's stuff, my wife's. It's probably about £50,000 worth of damage."

He added: "I jumped up and ran downstairs. The bike was gushing up like a big firework.

"As I picked the bike up to throw it outside, the batteries fell out and they were going off like little hand grenade's.

"I think we were lucky. If it were not for my son getting up, we wouldn't be here."

Andrew says he escaped his home, which he has lived in for 45 years, in just his underwear and a pair of glasses.

His wife and daughter only managed to escape from the upstairs landing after he rushed back and forth from the kitchen with buckets of water.

Paul Beaton says his families lives were saved by his son going to get a drink in the night. Credit: ITV Granada

The dad has now been told by the council he will be able to move back into his home in 20-30 weeks, but he says he finds that unlikely.

He and his family are now living at his mother-in-law's.

He said: "If I had known the risk now, I wouldn't have bought an e-bike. I'd say charge them outside.

"It's frustrating. I bought a toy for my 11-year-old son and it's devastated our lives."

Paul Beaton is now calling on the government to more tightly regulate e-bikes. Credit: ITV Granada

Martyn Allen, Technical Director at Electrical Safety First said: "We need tighter regulation to make sure if you buy a scooter or e-bike you know it's safe.

"In New York City, they put regulations in place, so that any battery needs to be self-certified by an independent test house.

"The really high energy products have enough energy in them similar to a grenade. The flames are so ferocious, it's an absolutely terrifying ordeal."

A government spokesperson said: “The Office for Product and Safety and Standards is working closely with the fire brigade to ensure product safety issues are properly assessed and action is taken to protect consumers.

“If manufacturers don’t comply with product safety regulations, appropriate enforcement action will be taken such as ordering the removal of the product from the market.”

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