IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

E-scooter batteries sparked blaze at NYC apartment that killed woman, 5-year-old girl

Fire officials have warned against the inappropriate use or storage of lithium-ion batteries as they have been found to be the cause of structure fires in the past.

A blaze that erupted in an East Harlem apartment in New York City, killing a 5-year-old girl and a 36-year-old woman, was sparked by lithium ion batteries from an e-bike or scooter, fire marshals said.

The fire was reported after 2:30 a.m. Wednesday in the sixth-floor apartment of the New York City Housing Authority’s Jackie Robinson Houses, according to fire officials.

Over 78 fire personnel responded to the inferno and it took about an hour to get it under control, the FDNY said.

The 5-year-old girl was killed in the fire along with her father’s 36-year-old girlfriend. Three dogs also died, NBC New York reported. The child’s father was hospitalized in critical condition.

The names of the victims were not released.

The FDNY later said in a tweet the cause of the“all hands fire which killed two people and left one other in serious condition … was lithium ion batteries from E-Bikes/Scooters.”

This isn’t the first time such batteries, used to charge electric bikes and scooters, have sparked fires. 

Fire marshals also determined such batteries were the cause of another fatal fire in the Bronx on Monday. 

In September 2021, a 9-year-old boy was killed and more than a dozen injured in a fire caused by an electric scooter that was charging overnight, Associated Press reported. Then-NYC Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the city had seen at least 60 structure fires and three fatalities caused by batteries used to charge electric bikes and scooters in the past year. 

The FDNY is urging people using devices powered by lithium-ion batteries to make sure the devices are listed by a qualified testing laboratory, to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging and storage, to not place such devices under pillows, a bed or couch, and to keep batteries at room temperature and away from anything flammable.