The pandemic of e-bike fires continued on Wednesday morning in Cypress Hills.
Firefighters responded to 142 Jamaica Avenue where they found two e-bikes burning in the lobby of an apartment building just after 9:35 a.m. They quickly extinguished the fire, and called in the FDNY’s Hazmat Company to remove the dangerous batteries from the charred bicycles and place them in containment drums. The blaze was officially placed under control at 10:20 a.m.
Lithium-ion batteries, used to power e-bikes and electric scooters, have become infamous for causing fast, hard-to-control fires. Hundreds of fires caused by lithium batteries have destroyed homes and businesses in Brooklyn and across the city over the last two years as electric bicycles have become more popular, especially among delivery workers, who rely on them to travel quickly and safely from place to place.
Last month, Mayor Eric Adams introduced a new plan to try to get those fires under control by cracking down on the distribution of unsafe batteries; educating the public on the dangers of lithium-ion batteries; and introducing new safety measures like fireproof charging bags and outlet timers that would stop overcharging — a common cause of battery fires. The city also plans to install safe outdoor charging stations at a number of NYCHA complexes across the city, including Van Dyke I in East New York.
Elected officials have also proposed installing public charging stations around the city, so delivery workers can safely and securely charge their bikes without bringing them into their homes or businesses, where they’re more likely to catch fire and cause severe damage and injuries.
In the meantime, the FDNY has released a number of safety tips for e-bike owners, including using only certified batteries and chargers; plugging the bikes directly into the wall, rather than using an extension cord or power strip, and closely monitoring a charging e-bike battery for any smoke, strange smells, or odd noises.