NEW YORK, Feb. 25 (AP) — Lithium-ion batteries used to power electric bikes and scooters have sparked 22 fires in New York City this year, injuring 36 people and killing two, the first battery-related fire at the time. Four times the number of fires last year, officials said.
On Friday, Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said Mayor Eric Adams’ administration was “approaching the issue from all angles,” including working with the city council and the federal CPSC Create additional regulations for batteries and educate the public on battery-related issues regarding their proper use and storage.
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“These are extremely dangerous devices, and we must ensure that members of the community handle them properly and use them safely,” Kavanagh said at a public safety briefing.
Many fires blamed on batteries have been caused by faulty devices placed in hallways or near doors that can trap people inside burning apartments.
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Three children and an adult were injured when a rechargeable battery caught fire at their apartment in upper Manhattan at 1:30 a.m. this month, officials said.
When the battery overheated and caught fire, “it blocked the exits from the apartment and trapped the family,” Fire Department operations chief John Esposito said after the Feb. 5 blaze.
E-bike batteries “often make it impossible to leave a room, apartment or home immediately,” Kavanagh said.
So it’s really important that we work with all our partners in government around law enforcement, education, combating these harms to citizens and first responders. ” (Associated Press)
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