Exclusive: An up-close look at lithium-ion battery dangers

Naveen Dhaliwal Image
Friday, September 9, 2022
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An Eyewitness News exclusive gives an up-close look at the dangers lithium-ion batteries can pose when something goes wrong. Naveen Dhaliwal has more.

RANDALL'S ISLAND (WABC) -- A safe and controlled FDNY demonstration showed the power of lithium-ion batteries.

"It explodes and it shoots the cells of the battery throughout the apartment," said FDNY Chief of Fire Operations John Esposito.

Chief Esposito says the use of the batteries has significantly increased over the last few years, as they are now found in e-mobility devices.

"We've had 130 structure fires caused by these batteries," said Esposito.

Last month, a 5-yer-old girl and a woman died in an apartment fire in East Harlem. The cause was a lithium ion battery on an e-bike left in the entryway. The bike then caught on fire, trapping the occupants.

The FDNY says their advice is to not charge the bikes overnight and to not charge them near the entry door to the living area.

Fire officials say investigations involving lithium-ion batteries have increased dramatically in the past three years. In 2019, there were 13 injuries and zero deaths. This year, there have already been 85 injuries and five deaths - numbers that are concerning.

Fire officials say with the increase of lithium-ion batteries, they are asking everyone to keep a close eye on them.

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