Following the recent tragic fatal flat fire in Kings Hedges Cambridgeshire, a fire investigation into the cause has been concluded. It is believed that the fire started accidentally and the most probable cause was an e-bike.
E-bikes and e-scooters are becoming increasingly popular, but they can catch fire quickly and with little warning. Most are powered by lithium-ion batteries which can be charged in the home. The use of these batteries in a wide range of household products is becoming increasingly common.
With an increased use of e-bikes and e-scooters, comes a corresponding fire safety concern associated with their charging and storage. Some fire services and fire investigators have seen a rise in e-bike and e-scooter battery fires.
Jess James, Area Manager for Service Delivery, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those that sadly lost their lives in the tragic incident in Cambridgeshire. Devastating incidents like this make people think about how they can ensure they keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
“We have seen a number of concerning fires in the country and we have also attended our own serious incidents in Berkshire caused by e-bikes and e-scooters. The dangers can occur when e-bikes and e-scooters are left on charge and unattended in homes or in communal areas such as hallways and stairwells, blocking emergency escape routes in multi-occupied buildings. The risk increases particularly when they are charged indoors, especially overnight when occupants are asleep.
“It is important when charging e-bikes and e-scooters, you do so safely to avoid the risk of a fire starting.”
Berkshire residents can help to protect themselves and others from the dangers of e-bike, e-scooter or lithium-ion battery fires by following this guidance:
- If possible, avoid charging e-bikes and e-scooters indoors.
- Avoid storing or charging e-bikes and e-scooters in communal areas as this can affect people’s ability to escape.
- Charge batteries whilst you are awake and alert and do not charge them if you are away from home.
- Avoid charging near combustible or flammable materials.
- Ensure your smoke alarms are working. If you charge or store your e-bike or e-scooter in a garage or kitchen ensure you install the correct detection equipment. We recommend heat alarms rather than smoke detectors for these areas.
- Always use the manufacturer approved charger for the product and carefully follow the instructions.
- Unplug the charger when you have finished using it.
- Check your battery regularly for any signs of damage.
- Do not overcharge your battery. Check the instructions for charge times.
- If you need to dispose of a damaged or end of life battery, don’t dispose of it in your household waste or normal recycling.
For further fire safety information, visit the RBFRS website.