At least 2 people injured in fire caused by a lithium-ion battery in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

Sonia Rincón Image
Thursday, June 22, 2023
At least 2 injured in fire caused by a lithium-ion battery in Brooklyn
An e-scooter battery briefly caught fire inside a building located at 6801 20th Avenue in Bensonhurst Wednesday around 8 p.m. Sonia Rincon has the developing story.

BENSONHURST, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Just hours after Mayor Eric Adams and FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh announced new plans to prevent fires cause by lithium-ion batteries, another battery started a fire in Brooklyn.

An e-scooter battery briefly caught fire inside a building located at 6801 20th Avenue in Bensonhurst Wednesday around 8 p.m., burning two people and several items close by but it was quickly extinguished.

At least two people suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation from the fire and were transported to a local hospital.

The owner of the building told Eyewitness News reporter Sonia Rincon that it is a relief that the fire was not more serious, especially considering the damage these battery fires have caused in the past.

Eyewitness News was told that a tenant in the building used a fire extinguisher and firefighters did not have to put out any flames when they got there, it was just smoke.

But fire marshals have been at the location since then looking at the evidence.

The owner of the building who did not want to speak with Eyewitness News on camera says it is actually in the lease that tenants are not allowed to have lithium-ion battery-powered mobility devices inside.

So, the fact that there were multiple batteries inside was a violation of the terms of that lease.

This close call happened on the same day the mayor and fire commissioner made a plea to New Yorkers to report any suspected improper use and storage of these batteries by calling 311, saying the city will now expedite the response, which would normally be 72 hours.

"311 calls regarding questionable activity and bike repair shops or any other locations are being charged with getting a response from the local fire station within 12 hours," Adams said.

"Things you can look for: Batteries being charged less than 3 feet apart," Kavanaugh said. "Multiple batteries being charged at once. Extension cords and most especially batteries that look like they might be tampered with. And locations that look like they are not properly licensed businesses."

Businesses were mentioned specifically because of the e-bike shop in Chinatown that went up in flames, killing four people and critically injuring two more on Tuesday. The business had a history of violations.

The mayor and commissioner took a look at the incredible damage on Wednesday, noting that it was the 108th fire started by lithium-ion batteries this year, and 13 people have died.

Police say the suspect pulled out a switchblade and stabbed the couple's German shepherd pit bull, Eli. Kemberly Richardson has the details.


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