A mother-of-two has lost everything in a house fire believed to have started as a result of a problem with an electric bike’s battery.
Sabrina Duff was forced to flee the blaze with her 16-year-old son early on Thursday morning. Her five-year-old was staying with his father at the time.
The London Fire Brigade was called to the maisonette on Sutterton Street, Islington, just before 7am, with 25 firefighters needed to put out the blaze, the Islington Gazette report.
Most of the ground floor and some of the first floor were damaged and the fire brigade believes the fire was caused by ‘an electrical event within a lithium-ion battery pack for an electric bicycle’.
Earlier this month members of London Fire Brigade’s Fire Investigation team warned of the possible dangers converted e-bikes, and replacement batteries, can cause.
Matt Cullen, Fire Investigation Officer, said: “We have seen that when these batteries and chargers fail, they do so with ferocity which can leave residents with few safe options for escape.
“These bikes and scooters are often stored and charged in escape routes in homes or communal areas so when a fire does occur, escape routes are blocked which immediately makes an already serious situation much more frightening for those involved.
“We have seen people forced into jumping from windows as they can’t get out of their front doors as the bike or scooter which has caught fire is in front of it.
“Even when the bikes or scooters aren’t in escape routes or communal areas, the fires are fierce enough that they pose an immediate danger to all occupants and we are seeing an increase in these types of fires.”
He explained that it was often e-bike conversion kits that were involved in the fires.
He continued: “At some of these incidents we have seen multiple batteries and chargers for a number of bikes in one property, which has resulted in the mixing of different chargers and batteries.
“We know that lithium-ion batteries are susceptible to failure if incorrect chargers are used and this may be a contributing factor in some cases.
“We also know many of these incidents involve batteries which have been sourced on the Internet, which may not meet the correct safety standards.”
In February, eight fire engines and around 60 firefighters attended a blaze at a house in Acton which involved an electric bike battery.
In April, there was another significant fire involving an e-bike in Walthamstow, when firefighters rescued three men from an outbuilding.