Exclusive: Focus on the dangers of lithium-ion batteries

RANDALL ISLAND (WABC) — A safe and controlled FDNY demonstration showed the power of lithium-ion batteries.

“It explodes and shoots battery cells all over the apartment,” FDNY Fire Operations Chief John Esposito said.

Chef Esposito says the use of batteries has increased dramatically in recent years, as they are now found in electric mobility devices.

“We’ve had 130 structural fires caused by these batteries,” Esposito said.

Last month, a 5-year-old girl and a woman died in an apartment fire in East Harlem. The cause was a lithium-ion battery on an e-bike left in the driveway. The bike then caught fire, trapping the occupants.

The FDNY says their advice is not to load bikes overnight and do not load them near the front door of the show.

Fire officials say investigations involving lithium-ion batteries have increased significantly over the past three years. In 2019, there were 13 injuries and no fatalities. This year, there have already been 85 injuries and five deaths – worrying figures.

Firefighters say that with the increase in lithium-ion batteries, they’re asking everyone to watch them closely.

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