Consumer Product Safety Commission Warning About E-Bikes, E-Bike Battery Fire in NYC Kills Two Children
On December 20th, 2022, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a memo calling the rate of e-bike battery fires a “crisis”. This is referencing both the amount of property destruction and injuries and death being caused by lithium-ion battery fires in e-bikes. Recent e-bike fires have made the news after battery explosions have caused house fires, injuries and death.
Previously, the CPSC focused attention on fires emerging from a suddenly popular hoverboard product category. The CPSC requested manufacturers complete compliance with safety protocols, and initiated multiple recalls for products that did not meet standards or were causing fires. Now, they are warning of a similar pattern of product safety failures with e-bikes.
The CPSC warns that lithium-ion battery fires from these devices can disproportionately affect dense urban areas and historically neglected communities. Fires that are hard to contain can consume multiple units of a dense building, fires started inside the main housing unit can quickly spread to consume the living space, and the use of chargers not designed for the battery can increase the risk of fire.
Queens New York City Lithium-Ion Battery Fire Claims Two Children’s Lives
On Monday April 10th, 2023, a 7-year-old boy and his 19-year-old sister died after being trapped in their Queens, New York City apartment when an e-bike battery exploded. The fire, described by the FDNY Chief as like an explosion, had blocked their only exit. The father and four siblings managed to escape by jumping from the back windows. The fire department arrived within three minutes but could not save the two children.
The fire was brought under control in about an hour by 100 firefighters across 25 units. According to Chief Fire Marshal Dan Flynn, this was the 59th fire in the five boroughs caused by lithium-ion battery fires. The two children are the fourth and fifth fatalities in New York City this year due to lithium-ion battery fires, last year there were six deaths from 220 such fires in New York City, according to firefighters.
Flynn emphasized the importance of using e-bikes safely and warned against using incompatible chargers. FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh echoed the need for education and awareness around lithium-ion batteries, urging users to follow manufacturer safety guidelines. Kavanagh also called for federal, state, and local partners to enact regulations that would help prevent future tragedies like this one. Fire Marshals are still investigating the incident.
Recent 2023 Lithium-ion Battery Recalls
The CPSC has issued a series of recalls in recent weeks for lithium-ion battery powered products that pose fire risks or the risk of a runaway explosion. Recent recalls include:
- March 30, 2023: Jetson Electric Bikes Recalls 53,000 Scooter / Hoverboards Due to Fire Hazard From Overheating Batteries ; Two Deaths Reported
- March 30, 2023: Higdon Outdoors Recalls 45,000 Waterfowl Decoys and Replacement Batteries Due to Overheating After Charging, Fire Risk
- March 09, 2023: Anker Power Banks by Fantasia Trading Recalled, 42,000 devices, Due to Fire Hazard From Overheating Lithium-ion Batteries
- March 02, 2023: Relion Insight Series Lithium Batteries Recalled, 7,250 Batteries, Due to Thermal Burn and Fire Hazards
Battery Fire Injuries
Battery fires can cause serious injury or death. The lithium batteries can be difficult to extinguish, and contain enough energy to catch a building or car on fire. The fires can be powerful, or even result in an explosion of the battery, which can speed the strength of any resulting structural fire or cause immediate injury or death. A runaway chemical reaction that occurs after a battery overheats cannot be stopped with water or a fire extinguisher as other fires can, resulting in a situation that requires fleeing from the fire. The two children who passed in New York City were unable to leave their single exit home.
Those experiencing a serious injury face incredible costs to cover healthcare, rehabilitation, and home support. They also often have lost wages. Initial medical bills are one aspect of how the injury impacts your family. Working with an attorney can help you recover wages and receive compensation to ensure continued coverage.
Schneider Wallace is a trial law firm. Our attorneys have the experience to handle all aspects of a case, including a full trial. Schneider Wallace has offices in multiple states, attorneys licensed in many states, and works with local attorneys in any other state. To contact Pete Schneider, Amy Eskin, Ryan Hicks, or another experienced personal injury attorney at Schneider Wallace, please contact us at 1-800-689-0024 or firstname.lastname@example.org.