Newcastle flat badly damaged after e-bike battery catches fire while charging

The Tyne and Wear Fire Service have issued a warning on e-bikes and e-scooters after a lithium-ion battery was believed to have caused a fire in Elswick. Credit: TWFRS

The fire service have issued a safety warning to owners of e-bikes and e-scooters after a lithium-ion battery was believed to be the cause of a house fire.

Firefighters from Newcastle central community fire station responded to a blaze at a flat in Elswick on 11 July when a lithium-ion battery on an e-bike overheated and set alight while charging. The occupant was not present on the property at the time and no one was injured.

Another fire caused while an e-bike was charging was reported in North Ormesby near Middlesbrough.

The two incidents come after a mother and her two children were killed in a house fire in Cambridge, also believed to have been caused by an e-bike battery earlier this month.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have now issued a warning on the dangers of keeping e-bikes and e-scooters to reduce fires of this nature.

Station manager Graeme MacDonald said: “In Tyne and Wear we have seen an increase in these types of fires and this incident shows how dangerous they can be.

“Thankfully the occupant was not home and there could have been a different outcome if they had been present. 

“Always ensure that you have working smoke alarms, and never leave batteries to charge while you are asleep or away from your home. 

“We would recommend that you are observant with the batteries and consider this checklist. Always look out for…the battery getting overly hot, any leakage and unusual behaviour, the battery not holding a charge, and appearing to be warped.

“Our focus is always to ensure that people using e-bikes and e-scooters are doing so safely to not only protect themselves but also the lives of others.”

No one was injured after the fire in Elswick. Credit: TWFRS

TWFRS have echoed the advice of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) who are working nationally to address the dangers posed by lithium-ion batteries.

Advice for e-bikes and e-scooter owners:

  • Charge batteries whilst you are awake and alert.

  • 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.

  • Do not cover chargers or battery packs while charging.

  • Do not charge batteries or store your e-bike or e-scooter near combustible or flammable materials.

  • Do not overcharge your battery and do not overload socket outlets or use inappropriate extension leads.

  • Avoid storing or charging e-bikes and e-scooters on escape routes or in communal areas.

  • In the event of an e-bike, e-scooter or lithium-ion battery fire – do not attempt to extinguish the fire. Get out, stay out, call 999.

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