Man suffers life-changing injuries in e-bike fire

The London Fire Brigade has issued a warning and urged others to be careful with e-bikes and e-scooters.

The London Fire Brigade has issued an urgent warning after a man, believed to be a food delivery driver, suffered “life-changing” injuries trying to tackle an e-bike fire.  

The incident is the latest in a series of e-bike and e-scooter fires in September, the service said, adding that there have already been more e-bike and e-scooter battery fires in 2023 than during the whole of 2022.

On September 12 in Highgate, an e-bike caught alight inside a bedroom and its owner tried to put the fire out with an extinguisher.

“He sustained burns to several parts of his body as a result before firefighters attended and safely put out the blaze,” the service said.

Most of a shop on Roman Road in Bow was damaged after an e-bike battery failed – 40 firefighters attended the scene. / Credit: London Fire Brigade

Three people have died and 50 more have been injured across 137 fires involving an e-bike or e-scooter in the capital in 2023.

The recent incident adds to a spate of e-bike fires over the last week alone.

On September 13, most of a shop on Roman Road in Bow was damaged after an e-bike battery failed. No one was hurt, but 40 firefighters were needed to tackle the blaze. 

Deputy Commissioner Dom Ellis said: “We strongly recommend calling us immediately if there is a fire, but particularly if it involves your e-bike or e-scooter.  

“Fires involving lithium batteries, which power these vehicles, can be ferocious, producing jets of flame.

“The blaze is also hot enough to melt through metal. This type of fire produces a highly flammable, explosive and toxic vapour cloud which should never be inhaled… The fire can also be extremely challenging to put out.   

“This incident, and the severe injuries sustained by this e-bike owner, highlights why you should never tackle a lithium battery fire.

“Our advice is to get out and call 999.”

The London Fire Brigade urges: 

  • Never block an escape route with an e-bike or e-scooter  
  • Never charge the vehicle unattended or whilst you are asleep 
  • Never tamper or modify the battery 
  • Always get a professional to carry out a conversion 

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