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 Lithium Battery Explosion and Fire

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E-bike now legal in NYCThe New York City Council is currently considering a package of bills aimed at addressing the fire safety concerns surrounding e-bikes and lithium-ion batteries.

The primary concern driving this legislation is the risk of fires caused by uncertified e-bikes and lithium-ion batteries. Just this kast week-end in Brooklyn, a firefighter was injured when a warehouse fire, likely sparked by an e-bike, erupted. According to City Council members, this year alone has seen 208 fires ignited by lithium-ion batteries, resulting in 14 tragic deaths and 116 injuries. As lithium battery accident lawyers we believe that these alarming statistics underscore the pressing need for action.

The proposed bill would mandate that delivery platforms like DoorDash and Uber Eats provide their workers with safe and certified e-bikes. This move is seen as a crucial step in mitigating the risk associated with faulty e-bikes and batteries. While the intention behind the bill is clear – protecting the safety of delivery workers and the public – it has sparked a heated debate.

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ambulance at accident sceneIn the early hours of Tuesday morning, tragedy struck a bustling street near Chinatown when a fire erupted at an e-bike service store. Four lives were lost, while two others remain in critical condition. The cause of the fire? Lithium-ion batteries, which have become a growing concern in New York City due to their link to several fatal blazes.

At around midnight, a three-alarm fire broke out at the e-bike repair shop on Madison Street, engulfing the business and spreading through the building. Despite the valiant efforts of approximately 140 firefighters and emergency personnel, the blaze claimed the lives of four individuals and left two others fighting for their lives. The fire commissioner, Laura Kavanagh, confirmed that the fire was accidental and caused by a lithium-ion battery.

Lithium-ion batteries have become a common power source for various devices, including e-bikes, phones, laptops, and power tools. However, their flammability has become a growing concern as the usage of electric vehicles, especially e-bikes and scooters, has surged in New York City. Commissioner Kavanagh revealed that these batteries have been responsible for 108 fires and 13 deaths so far this year alone. In 2022, approximately 200 fires were linked to lithium-ion batteries.

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E-bike explosion kills 2 in Queens NYCAn e-bike powered by a defective lithium-ion battery caused a fatal fire in Astoria, Queens, New York City, killing two children yesterday afternoon. This tragedy has raised concerns about the safety of e-bikes and the need for stricter regulations to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. According to reports, the e-bike was being charged in the vestibule of the home when it caught fire and caused an explosion. The victims did not have enough time to escape the intense fire that quickly traveled up the stairs to their second-floor apartment.

This incident highlights the ongoing problem of e-bike-related fires in the city. So far, there have been 59 e-bike-related fires in New York City this year, resulting in five fire-related deaths. The cause of these fires has been linked to the use of defective e-bikes lithium-ion batteries.

New action plan and and legislation

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Lithium ion battery can be dangerousOur personal injury law firm is concerned about the recent news regarding lithium-ion batteries causing deadly fires in New York City. According to reports, a 64-year-old man died in a Bronx apartment fire caused by a defective lithium-ion battery over the weekend, and the FDNY has reported 33 fires caused by these batteries this year, resulting in three deaths and 42 injuries.

To address this issue, Mayor Eric Adams signed  five bills into law aimed at preventing fires caused by lithium-ion batteries in New York City (see our previous blog about these bills related to e-bike battery safety). 

While the bills only address lithium battery safety in New York City, there is a need for federal legislation to ensure that batteries are safely manufactured and used. Currently, compliance with safety standards is voluntary, and the wide availability of uncertified or after-market tampered batteries is contributing to the problem. Additionally, a change in federal law in 2016 exempts imports below $800 from inspection and tariffs, which has made it easier for uncertified or unsafe batteries to enter the market.

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FDNY twitt on lithium battery fire in the Bronx NYCMayor Adams and Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh are calling for a federal action to crack down on defective lithium-ion batteries  that are invading the American market and causing an alarming number of fires in New York City.

Mayor Adams and Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh  both visited the Bronx on Sunday after a small e-scooter charging in the back of a supermarket exploded and caused a massive fire that injured several and took hours for the FDNY to stop. So far one person died this year and last year, 6 people died and 147 were injured in more than 200 fires caused by exploding lithium-ion batteries in New York City.

Delivery companies should be also held accountable for letting their employees use defective batteries

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Lithium ion battery can be dangerousDefective lithium-Ion e-bike batteries have been the cause of 216 fires in NYC last year. 147 people suffered personal injury and 6 of them died in these fires. This year so far more than 20 lithium-ion battery fires have caused serious injury and death. Two weeks ago, in Brooklyn, a woman died from her injuries after being rescued from a fire in her building that was caused by batteries exploding in an another apartment that a tenant had transformed into an illegal lithium battery repair shop.

Yesterday the New York City Council voted on a legislative package dedicated to strengthen safety and prevent fires related to e-bike batteries:

  • Introduction 663-A restricts the sale, lease or rental of e-bike, e-scooter or any other mobility device powered by lithium batteries as well as storage batteries that do not meet recognized safety standards.  This means that these devices and their storage batteries will have to be tested by an accredited laboratory and  meet the applicable Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standards. the testing laboratory or name will have to be displayed on the product itself or on the packaging or documentation.
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Lithium ion battery can be dangerousA 67 year old woman was critically injured in a fire sparked by a defective lithium-ion battery in Brooklyn, NYC yesterday early morning.

The victim was residing in a building located on Goodwin Place  in Bushwick and was probably asleep when the fire erupted around 1:40 am on Tuesday morning.  The fire started in an apartment that one of the tenants had transformed into a lithium battery repair shop. 50 lithium batteries were found there by the firefighters. It is not clear how many batteries exploded but the FDNY said that the fire sparked so fast and was so intense that the fire alarms and the sprinkler system which were working, were of no help.   When firefighters arrived, all 3 floors of the building were ravaged by the blaze. They were still able to find the victim but she was already in bad condition. Another victim suffered minor injuries. The tenant who was running the off-the-book repair shop was not home at the time of the explosion but had left several batteries to charge overnight.

The FDNY told the NY daily News that since the beginning of this year, they have been responding to an average of 3 fires caused by lithium batteries every week.

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FDNY rescuing children in fire caused by Ion lithium battery18 children were injured after a fire erupted in an unlicensed daycare located in Queens. The fire was caused by a defective lithium-ion battery that exploded in the basement.

Firefighters were called yesterday afternoon around 2pm for a fire in a basement located at 147-07 72 Drive in Queens, NYC. When they arrived on location, the basement was filled with heavy fire and smoke. They removed 18 children from the building, most of them on the first floor and one of them in the basement. They found out that an illegal daycare was operating on the first floor.  Most children suffered minor injuries and did not require to be hospitalized. One of them was critically injured and still remains in the hospital. Two adults also suffered injury in the fire.

A neighbor took care of the children as parents were alerted and asked to come pick up their young kids. The fire was controlled in 45 minutes.

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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.