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Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Explosion and Fire Accidents

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Lithium ion battery can be dangerousFollowing the fire that recently erupted in a Manhattan Midtown high-rise  after an e-bike lithium battery exploded, the NYC Council finally held a hearing on several bills designated to prevent lithium battery accidents.

While some of the bills are supported by most, others are creating discontent among delivery workers who are the largest category of  e-bikes users.

  • Int 0656-2022 proposes that the FDNY develop an informational campaign to educate people about the fire risks posed by powered mobility devices.  FDNY fully supports this proposal and is already running such campaigns.
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429 Est 52nd street where the fire occurredAn occupant of a Midtown high rise who, according to the FDNY, was repairing e-bikes and e-scooters out of his apartment caused a major fire in a high rise after a lithium-ion battery exploded in the front door of his 20th floor apartment. Firefighters said they recovered at least 5 e-bikes from the apartment where the fire started. A woman had to be rescued out of her window in a heroic rescue effort. Firefighters were forced to use a technique called “roof rope rescue” which is a last resort technique to save the woman blocked in the 20th floor apartment.

Firefighters  instructed other residents to shelter in their apartments, put wet towels under the door and wait until they came to rescue them.

A total of 38 people suffered injury in the fire. Two of them are in critical condition. Five of them suffered serious injury and the rest were minor injuries.

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The lithium battery of this bike might be defectiveAncheer is recalling the potentially defective lithium battery of 22,000 e-bikes. The recall decision was made after the company received 6 reports of accidents that include batteries igniting and causing sparks, fires and/or explosions. Among the 6 accidents reported, 4 resulted in burn injuries.

The battery recalled is a cylindrical battery that looks like a water bottle and is mounted on the Ancheer e-bikes model AM001907. The model number can not be found on the bike but on the packaging and on the user manual.

The recalled Ancheer e-bikes models were sold between January 2016 and June 2022 by major retailers including Walmart, Sears, Amazon, eBay, Overstock, Aliexpress, Ancheer, Newegg, Rakuten and Wish.

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lithium-battery-can-be-deadly-2An e-bike battery explosion caused a deadly fire in Harlem, NYC, inside NYCHA’s Jackie Robinson Houses.

5 year old Erika Williams was sleeping in a an apartment with her dad Erik Williams and his 36 year old girlfriend Chanise Anderson when a little after 2:30 am on Wednesday morning, the lithium battery of an e-bike stored next to the apartment entrance door exploded and created a fire.

The fire and heavy smoke prevented the toddler and the girlfriend to escape while the father covered in flames ran into the hallway screaming for help. He is still in the hospital in critical condition. The 5 year old girl and the girlfriend both died. 3 dogs also died in the fire.

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the NYC building where 19 people died in a fireA door that malfunctioned and was left open in an apartment in which a defective heater started a fire caused heavy smoke to spread through a residential high-rise building in the Bronx and lead to the death of 19 people including 9 children. Another 32 people who suffered critical injury and 3 who suffered serious injury were rushed to the hospital. 19 other people suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene. This is the most catastrophic fire in New York City since the Happy Land fire 30 years ago. A couple, Mahamadou Toure and his wife, lost 2 of their 5 children in the fire.

The fire started in a duplex located at the third floor of a building located at 333 E. 181st St. in the Bronx and was caused by a defective space heater.  The door of the apartment where the fire started was left open and a very heavy black smoke invaded all the hallways of the building.  The building had no fire escape and the stairwells that were supposed to be used as emergency exits quickly filled with heavy smoke. The smoke also invaded all the stairwell exits that were left open. Firefighters found victims in cardiac arrest on every floor and in the stairwells. Other people were trapped in their apartments. Those on the highest floor were told by 911 to put towels at the bottom of their door and stay in their apartment until they were told it would be safe to go out. People on the lowest floors closer to the fire were evacuated by their window.

The building that was built in 1972 under federal guidelines had multiple units converted into duplexes. According to FDNY some spaces were hard to reach because of the old design of the building.

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location of the explosion6 people were injured in NYC and 54 of them lost their home after an explosion sparked a major fire just after midnight on Wednesday. The explosion originated in the basement of a 3-story brick rowhouse located on Vermont Street near Jamaica Ave  in Cypress Hill.

According to CBS, tenants and neighbors complained to the landlord about gas smell 12 hours before the accident occurred. Tenants thought the landlord would take care of it but instead they were woken up in the middle of the night by a giant explosion.

The explosion which is being investigated, sent a giant fireball across the street and fire propagated quickly to the apartment units on the top (see video below) . Two tenants living on the top floor were awake and and were able to escape before the firefighters showed up 3 minutes later.

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Alonzo Yanes suffered devastating injuriesThe Appellate Division of New York just allowed the largest award for Pain and Suffering ever in New York State History. Although the jury verdict was reduced, the Appeals court allowed $29 million for Pain and Suffering. This award represents an almost 50% increase from the next highest award — $20 million which was a recent decision from the same court.

The case was one that sparked national attention. A 10th grade student, Alonzo Yanes, was severely burned in his 10th grade chemistry class due to the negligence of his teacher Anna Poole and the New York City Board of Education.  The teacher, who had been performing the “rainbow experiment,” failed to take necessary safety precautions to protect the students in her class. In the experiment the teacher was using methanol, a highly flammable substance, and failed to ensure that the students were kept at a safe distance from the demonstration table, failed to provide goggles to the students, failed to ensure there was a fire blanket was in the classroom and conducted the experiment in a classroom which did not have proper ventilation or showers.

Alonzo was burned alive. As the teacher poured the methanol from a gallon jug into a beaker a large  fireball erupted and coated this young student with millions of droplets of burning methanol. Alonzo was screaming in agony —  but because there was no protective equipment in the classroom and no shower or fire blanket he kept burning while a teacher from another classroom finally entered the classroom with a fire blanket to smother the flames.

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the house that went on fire in Long Island5 people died in an apartment fire in Long Island NY last Tuesday night. The fire erupted around 10:40 pm in a century-old house located on East Second Street in Riverhead. The house had 3 apartments with the landlord living in one of them on the ground floor and two other families living on the second and third floor. A total of 10 people lived in the house. 5 of them who were living on the top floor died in the fire. It was a mother with her son and daughter as well as her two nephews.

According to preliminary investigations, the fire might have been started by a cigarette. The fire was discovered by a resident of the second floor who had stepped out to walk his dog. As he was returning home he smelled the smoke and then heard the neighbors screaming “Fire”.

The investigators are still trying to figure out if there were smoke alarms installed in the apartment and if there were, why they didn’t work.

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A defective moped lithium battery is at the origin of a fire that killed 9 year old Remi Fernandez in his new apartment in Queens. Remi had just moved with his parents into a new apartment located on 102nd Road near 84th Street in  Ozone Park, Queens, when a fire that was sparked by the battery of a moped charging in the apartment erupted around 2:00 am while the family was sleeping. Remi’s father suffered burn injuries as he was trying to rescue his little boy from their basement apartment. The apartment where the family had just moved in had no smoke alarm. The basement had been illegally converted into an apartment.  The rest of the building was deemed unsafe by the Department of Buildings and all residents had to be evacuated. 10 other people including a firefighter were injured and transported to the hospital to be treated.

55 fires caused by defective lithium ion batteries over the last 12 months in New York City

Fire caused by defective lithium-ion batteries are on the rise in New York City. According to the NY Daily News, there were 55 fires caused by these types of batteries in New York City between August 1st 2020 and August 1st 2021 compared to 22 for the same period a year earlier.  Sadly Remi is not the first victim to die in one of these fires. Last May in the Bronx, a 91 year old woman died and 11 people were injured in a fire sparked by a defective lithium battery in the third floor apartment of a six-story building in the Bronx. Earlier in January, a   scooter charging in the living room of a Bronx apartment was at the origin of another fire that killed one and injured 12 others.

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A man suffered severe burns in a sidewalk explosion in Queens last week.

57 year old Barry West was heading to his T-mobile store to pay his cell phone bill when a Coned underground transformer exploded sending a ball of fire through the sidewalk grate. The man was engulfed in the flames before he was able to move to safety. He suffered second degree burns in multiple areas of his face and body and was immediately hospitalized.  The man was still in the hospital a week after the accident. He told the NY Daily News that the explosion just came from nowhere. He felt he lost a lot of skin and was in so much pain that he could not work.

A similar explosion occurred at the same location exactly one day earlier and partially destroyed the front of a pizzeria next door  (read more and see video of the accident in the NY Daily News).