Homeowners have a lucky escape after e-bike EXPLODED and sparked house blaze as firefighters issue warning over dangerous batteries

  • A house fire broke out in Leystonstone, east London, after an e-bike exploded 
  • It was ignited by a lithium-ion battery pack that had been charging for the e-bike
  • There were no injuries, but part of the ground floor of the house was damaged 
  • Fire officers warned the public to always unplug chargers for devices when done

Fire officers have warned the public not to leave chargers for devices unattended after an e-bike exploded leading to a house fire yesterday.

The blaze broke out after a lithium-ion battery pack overheated while it was charging the e-bike.

Two people living inside the terraced house in Leytonstone, east London, initially heard bangs coming from a bedroom on the ground floor and then found a fire had started in the room.

There were no injuries, but part of the ground floor of the house was damaged by the fire.

A picture posted by London Fire Brigade on Twitter shows a burnt-out window destroyed by the blaze. 

The fire brigade stated: ‘Always make sure you unplug your charger once it’s finished charging & don’t leave it unattended or charging while people are asleep.’

There were no injuries, but part of the ground floor of the house in Leytonstone, east London, was damaged by the fire

E-scooters injured 131 people over 12 months 

E-scooters injured 131 pedestrians in Britain over 12 months, according to new figures.

Thirty-seven of the casualties suffered injuries described by the Department for Transport as ‘serious’.

Other road users injured in e-scooter collisions in the year ending June include 36 cyclists and 32 vehicle occupants.

Fourteen casualties were aged 70 and above, while 17 were between 60 and 69. Twenty-one children under 10 were injured.

The figures also show that three e-scooter users were killed in crashes, and a further 729 were injured.

Three fire engines and around 15 firefighters from Leytonstone, Leyton and Walthamstow stations attended the scene.

A spokesman from the brigade said: ‘We know that lithium-ion batteries are susceptible to failure if incorrect chargers are used, so it’s important to always use the correct charger for the product and buy an official one from a reputable seller.

‘Batteries can also pose a risk if they have been damaged, so try to ensure they are not getting knocked around while in use or while being carried as spares as this can increase the chance of damage to cells.

‘You should also not expose them to extremes of temperature. You should always make sure you unplug your charger once it’s finished charging.

‘Always follow manufacturers’ instructions when charging and we would advise not to leave it unattended or while people are asleep.

‘This is also a timely reminder to keep internal doors to rooms not in use closed to stop smoke spreading if a fire starts.

‘The property sustained substantial smoke damage due to internal doors inside the property being left open.’

Just last month, Transport for London (TfL) banned all e-scooters from London transport after dozens of incidents in 2021 saw the scooters explode and release toxic smoke.

‘Always follow manufacturers’ instructions when charging and we would advise not to leave it unattended or while people are asleep,’ said a fire brigade spokesman

E-bikes and e-scooters are almost all powered by lithium-ion batteries, charged from the mains outlet in a property.

Charity Electrical Safety First warns that substandard versions can have explosive consequences, leading to fire and injury.

There have already been reports of faulty escooter batteries catching fire and exploding in places where the devices are widely used, such as China.

In December, there was a report of an e scooter catching fire at Dublin home.

Martyn Allen, technical director at Electrical Safety First, said: ‘Items such as e-bikes and e-scooters are powered by lithium-ion batteries and will be required to charge for long periods of time.

‘Substandard versions of these batteries can pose a serious risk to life if a fault occurs.

‘Where you purchase your batteries and charger packs is just as important as the bike or scooter itself.’

The review by TfL found that defective lithium batteries in some e-scooters caused fires without warning, with the fire brigade being called out more than 50 times last year.

Last November, an e-scooter caught fire on the Tube at Parsons Green.

In a video of the incident, passengers can be heard coughing and gasping for air as smoke fills the carriages.

TfL warned that a fire in an enclosed area like a bus or the Tube could lead to ‘significant harm’ to passengers and staff.

A TfL spokesman stated: ‘This review has found that the incidents that occurred were caused by defective lithium-ion batteries which ruptured without warning.

‘This led to fires that caused toxic smoke to be released.

‘TfL consider that if this were to happen again and fires occurred in an enclosed area like a Tube train or a bus, there could be significant harm to both customers and staff, as well as secondary injuries from customers trying to escape the area.’ 

However, despite the fears, an estimated 200,000 e scooters have already been bought in the UK.

One in seven UK adults were planning to buy an e-bike or e-scooter last year, according to a survey.

Many have turned to cycling to avoid public transport as lockdown eases, but research by Electrical Safety First suggests more are considering an e-bike or e-scooter.

One in three of the 3,002 adults surveyed said they would be willing to purchase a battery charging pack for their e-bike or e-scooter from an online marketplace, which opens the risk of consumers acquiring substandard and dangerous imitations.  

Crime commissioner urges ministers to ban e-scooter sales until they are legal on UK roads 

Ministers are being urged to ban sales of electric scooters until it becomes legal to ride them on the roads.

Simon Foster, Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, has written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warning of more deaths and serious injuries without a crackdown.

In his letter, seen by the Mail, he brands the contraptions ‘a menace’ and says they are increasingly becoming a drain on police resources.

Privately-owned e-scooters are illegal to ride on the roads.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (pictured) has been urged to ban sales of private electric scooters until it is legal for them to be used on roads

Yet retailers are selling them in record numbers with few questions asked and are even promoting them as a convenient way of getting around.

It means police are left pulling over hundreds of riders to explain the law and potentially arresting them for driving a motor vehicle without insurance or a licence.

Mr Foster said West Midlands Police force has alone recorded more than 400 incidents in recent years.

Many of these involved young thugs riding dangerously, such as on the pavement, or using e-scooters to commit crimes.

One man, Shakur Amoy Pinnock, 20, died of serious head injuries in June after the e-scooter he was riding collided with a Volkswagen Golf in Wolverhampton.

Simon Foster (pictured), Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, has written to the Transport Secretary warning of more deaths and serious injuries without a crackdown

Only e-scooters in government-backed trials, which users typically pay to rent per minute, are legal and involve licence checks and other measures as a condition of use to ensure a certain level of safety. The devices are limited to 15.5mph and permitted only on roads or cycle lanes, not pavements, in around 50 cities and towns across the country.

Ministers have delayed making a decision on whether to legalise privately-owned e-scooters on the roads until summer 2022.

But Mr Foster said their sale should be banned until this decision, along with a new regulatory regime, is announced.

His letter to Mr Shapps said: ‘Clearly the legislation and regulatory regime around the sale and use of private e-scooters is unfit for purpose.

‘In future, privately owned e-scooters need to be licenced, regulated and appropriate health and safety measures put in place.

‘Until we reach this point, we would urge you to ban the sale of private e-scooters so we don’t see further injuries or deaths on our roads.’

It added: ‘As you will be aware, private e-scooters are legally sold and bought, but they are a menace on our roads, pavements and in our parks.

‘They are causing problems for pedestrians, motorists and police; not to mention a considerable health and safety risk for the owners themselves.

‘It is therefore disappointing to see so many of them being sold to customers who have no place to ride them.’

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