Two e-bikes catch fire in lobby of Cypress Hills apartment building

firefighter examines e-bikes after fire
A firefighter from Hazmat Company 1 removes a battery from an e-bike after it caught fire at 142 Jamaica Avenue on Wednesday morning.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

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.

firefighters at cypress hills fire caused by e-bikes
A firefighter from Hazmat Company 1 dons his face piece in order to handle an e-bike battery that exploded in a private residence at 142 Jamaica Avenue. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

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.

E-bike batteries have caused hundreds of fires and dozens of injuries across the city over the last few years. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

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.  

firefighters place e-bike battery in container
Firefighters placed the batteries in sealed containers and safely took them away from the scene after the fire was contained. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

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.