Hampshire Fire Brigade issue warning about the dangers of lithium batteries following a rise in serious incidents

Aftermath of a fire caused by a lithium battery explodingAftermath of a fire caused by a lithium battery exploding
Aftermath of a fire caused by a lithium battery exploding
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service is warning residents about the dangers of lithium batteries following a rise in serious incidents across the country.

Lithium batteries can be found in cars, bikes, scooters, laptops, phones, and e-cigarettes.

Fire and rescue services are most concerned about the significant risk involved with electric vehicles including e-bikes and e-scooter batteries, after several UK deaths have been linked to fires caused by these.

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The danger occurs when e-bikes and e-scooters are left on charge and unattended in homes or in communal areas such as hallways and stairwells.

Charging lithium batteries indoors increases the fire risk, especially if charged overnight when occupants are sleeping.

Chief Fire Officer Neil Odin said: “E-bikes and e-scooters with lithium batteries can catch fire quickly and with little warning if not handled and cared for correctly or if they are of poor quality.

"If lithium batteries overheat when charging, there’s also a risk of these exploding.

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"After the recent Cambridge tragedy, which sadly cost the lives of a mother and her two children, we want to highlight the dangers and increased fire risk these products can present, to hopefully avoid such tragedies in the future.

“We know e-bikes and e-scooters are becoming increasingly popular but in the last year HIWFRS has already attended five fires caused by lithium battery packs and 21 incidents since 2020.

"The large amount of energy found in these battery packs poses a huge fire risk, so we urge members of the public to ensure they take the necessary precautions.

“To help keep everyone in your family safe, don’t leave lithium batteries to charge unattended, don’t put them in the way of exits or in hallways and unplug chargers when the batteries are at full capacity.”

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Nationally there’s been a notable increase in incidents of this kind, with London Fire Brigade reporting that they’ve already attended 70 e-bike, 14 e-scooter and 35 other lithium battery fires so far in 2023.

Locally, on June 25 last month, crews from Southsea were called to a flat fire in Sandringham Road after an electric scooter’s lithium battery caught fire.

Crews used two sets of breathing apparatus and two jets as well as two positive pressure ventilation fans, which were used to clear the smoke.

And in April 2022, firefighters tackled a fire involving an electric scooter’s battery pack which had exploded whilst on charge in a Portsmouth flat.

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Crews from Cosham and Southsea arrived to find smoke issuing from the building on Hewlett Road before firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used hose reels and jets to stop the blaze

which had caused significant damage to the living room.

Fire Investigation Officers have confirmed the fire started after an electric scooter’s lithium battery overheated whilst charging, causing it to explode.