Judgement has been passed down in a landmark case in which criminal negligence resulted in three deaths in Nanjing last year, after a fire from the battery of an electric bike spread to the adjacent residential building, torching an apartment therein.
It was in August of 2020 when the fire on the bike, owned by a Mr. Lu, broke out while it was parked in a typical alleyway in a Nanjing residential community.
The fire quickly spread to other electric bikes parked nearby. Before long, a large blaze ascended the adjacent building, setting fire to a third floor apartment. The fire caused the deaths of three females therein; a mother and daughter plus another family relative.
Firefighters in attendance were unable to bring the fire under control and prevent the subsequent deaths. Lu was arrested on suspicion of causing the fire on 4 September.
Now, more than half a year later, the Nanjing Intermediate People’s Court of Jiangsu recently made its final ruling on the case.
It was found that Lu had spent ¥13,000 on the customised electric bike. Among the modifications was the installation of a battery other than the factory standard. It was this fact which the court would use to find Lu guilty of criminal negligence.
The court’s deliberations found that Lu’s actions in modifying the bike presented a possible safety hazard that could have been foreseen.
With the fire and three deaths the direct result of Lu’s decision to customise his electric bike, such constituted a criminal act.
The court upheld its original judgement in the case, sentencing Lu to serve a prison term of 3 and half years.
Such a tragic and unnecessary loss of human lives serves also as a reminder for the general public to be vigilant as to the quality of the electrical fittings that are such an essential element of modern society.