5 hurt in Bushwick apartment fire; e-bike and batteries found at scene

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, October 17, 2023
E-bike caused fire that left 5 injured in Brooklyn apartment: FDNY
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Five people, including children, were injured in an apartment fire in Bushwick, Brooklyn, that is believed to be caused by a lithium-ion battery. N.J. Burkett has the story.

BUSHWICK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Five people, including children, were injured in an apartment fire in Bushwick that is believed to be caused by a lithium-ion battery.

The fire broke out inside the building on Menahan Street around 4:45 a.m. Tuesday. Fire marshals say it started when the battery exploded spontaneously.

Three victims were in the apartment, and firefighters pulled two people out of the second-floor window with their ladder, cutting the metal bars.

The third person was rescued by firefighters using the interior stairs.

Two other victims were on the 7th floor due to the smoke condition in the building.

Of those injured, two adults are in critical condition, one adult is in serious condition, and two kids are stable with non-life-threatening injuries.

FDNY Chief Kevin Woods says that when crews arrived they "used a hoseline to extinguish a large amount of fire in the living room area."

Woods said that lithium-ion battery fires cause dense black smoke.

"Puts your smoke under pressure, hence the smoke condition that was on the 7th floor where we had to remove two victims," Woods said.

The FDNY as cofirmed the cause of the Brooklyn apartment fire that injured 5 to be from a lithium-ion battery.

An e-bike and lithium-ion batteries were found at the scene and officials confirmed that they were the cause of the fire.

On average, there are at least five lithium-ion battery fires somewhere in New York City every week. They are sparked by cheaply made or jury-rigged batteries that overheat and catch fire. More than a dozen people have been killed-some of them, while sleeping.

The FDNY has been cracking down on illegal charging operations-while sounding the alarm. Commissioner Laura Kavanagh testified before the Consumer Product Safety Commission this summer and is now urging online retailers like Amazon to stop selling uncertified chargers.

"We have been imploring local manufactures, Amazon, online retailers to stop selling these unsafe batteries," Kavangh said. "We have worked with the mayor and city council to put tremendous amounts of resources into this and pass local laws, but unless we see manufacturers being compliant, we will still find devices like the one we see here today that are not compliant, that do cause these deadly fires and injure New Yorkers."

As of this year, there have been 216 fires caused by lithium-ion batteries, with 120 injuries and 14 fatalities.

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