Household concern lithium-ion battery fires

Lithium-ion batteries power the gamut of household goods and micro-mobility devices, but now they’re a household concern.

Researchers at the Underwriters Laboratories Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) told Fox News that its teams are diligently studying fires caused by lithium-ion batteries.

“We are running a series of experiments to see how quickly these fires can spread and what impact they have on occupant survival – as well as the safe operations of the fire service,” said Steve Kerber, executive director on the University of Limerick. FSRI. “We want to make sure our research is getting the word out so people know how to live safely with batteries.”

Lithium-ion battery

A lithium-ion battery explodes during a nail test as part of a demonstration in a container on the premises of fire protection company Stöbich. (Swen Pförtner Alliance/image via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Lithium-ion batteries catch fire due to battery defects or overheating, Kerber explained. The complications create a “non-stop chemical reaction” known as thermal runaway.

“There’s no stopping that once it happens, so it’s really important that people get out as quickly as possible,” Kerber said. “Imagine that a battery is connected to five batteries around it. So, when one overheats and goes into thermal run, it heats the five connected to it.”


Record keeping for lithium-ion battery fires varies among fire departments but as of February 15, there were at least 42 known lithium-ion battery fires nationwide and New York City had 24, one fatal, according to an FDNY spokesman.

The latest happened in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn in the early morning hours of Valentine’s Day. Fire investigators said two people were injured, including a 67-year-old woman who was critically injured

Lithium-ion battery

26 April 2022, Saxony, Zwickau: The lithium-ion battery of ID.4 at the Volkswagen factory in Zwickau. (Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images/Getty Images)

During a press briefing, New York City Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said the fire was caused by “bicycles and lithium-ion batteries,” adding, “multiple devices were found at the scene.”

Back on February 10, Kavanagh wrote a letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urging the agency to create more regulations for the battery-making industry.

Kavanagh also proposed a ban on “universal” battery chargers to ensure micromobility manufacturers’ products only work with approved batteries.

According to the CPSC, from the beginning of 2021 to the end of November 2022, the agency received reports of at least 208 fires or overheating incidents involving e-scooters, e-bikes or hoverboards – 19 of which were fatal.

Kristi Carleton of Colorado learned the dangers of lithium-ion batteries earlier this month after her son’s hoverboard ignited inside her home.

Carleton told Fox News that she was home at the time of the incident, “I went back outside, and I didn’t call 911 yet because I had taken care of the flames — and I was taking video of it, (the program hoverboard) exploded again, and then exploded again.”

“It never crossed my mind when we bought him this (hoverboard) and I want to be really careful because I think I bought my son a bomb for his birthday,” she said.

Lithium-ion battery

A lithium-ion battery explodes during a nail test as part of a demonstration in a container on the premises of fire protection company Stöbich. (Swen Pförtner Alliance/image via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Firefighters located approximately 120 miles east of Denver at the rural Gypsum Fire Protection District responded to the Carleton home to assess the situation.

“They had to break into the hoverboard and pull the battery compartments apart,” Carleton said. “I think there were four or five batteries in the pack and they ended up separating those in the snow, and it was still smoldering for quite some time afterwards.”


Kerber recommends only buying safety-tested batteries, following the manufacturer’s instructions, and charging larger items, such as e-bikes or e-scooters, outdoors.

In a statement to Fox News, the Rechargeable Battery Association said, “PRBA fully supports the CPSC’s recent recommendation regarding micro-mobility devices such as e-bikes and e-scooters to ensure that they are designed, manufactured and certified to comply with the applicable agreement. safety standards such as UL 2272 and UL 2849.”


“Other consumer products meet similar safety standards that take a “systems approach” to safety by requiring testing of the device, battery, and charger. PRBA encourages consumers to purchase lithium-ion batteries from original manufacturers that their batteries are designed with redundant safety features and to meet consensus safety standards PRBA welcomes the opportunity to work with all stakeholders on lithium-ion battery outreach and education to prevent lithium-ion battery incidents and increase consumer safety ,” the organization continued.

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