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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 Lithium Battery Explosion and Fire

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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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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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le5 BODY CAMERAA potentially defective lithium-Ion battery in Vievu-brand LE-5  body camera led the NYPD to pull almost 3,000 body cameras from use.

The decision was made after one of the cameras worn by a Staten Island police officer exploded into flames.  The officer who was assigned to a midnight shift  in the 121st Precinct on the northwestern shore of Staten Island suddenly noticed smoke coming out of his body camera. Thankfully he wasn’t injured in the accident. He just had the time to remove the camera and to drop it on the ground in the precinct before it exploded and caught fire. After the incident, all officers wearing the same model of camera were instructed to immediately remove them and bring them back to their commands. The NYPD had around 15,000 cameras in use and only the Vievu LE-5 is being recalled. The previous version Vievu LE-4 which is also used by some of the police officers is not recalled. Officers who were wearing the LE-5 model will temporally work without body cameras.

CONTROVERSIAL DECISION 

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Defective Hoverboard Lazy BoardDespite the many fire accidents and injuries caused by defective lithium-ion battery packs in hoverboards, the toy remains among the most popular holiday gifts. If you or your kids own a self balancing scooter or if you are planning to buy one as a gift you should visit the Consumer  Product Safety Commission website and check on the recent Self Balancing Scooter recalls. Here are some of the most recently recalled models:

  • The Layz Board hoverboard was recently the subject of a second warning by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. According to the agency this hoverboard caused a fire on October 23, 2017, in Manchester Township, Pennsylvania, which destroyed one town home and damaged four others. The hoverboard was the object of a previous warning in May 2017 after two young girls died in a house fire caused by the Layz Board hoverboard on March 10, 2017, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Salvage World just recalled 700 Smart Balance Wheel self-balancing Scooters/Hoverboards. The battery can overheat and pose a risk of smoking, exploding or catching fire
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hoverboardA 3 year old girl died from her injury after a hoverboard explosion caused a major fire in her apartment in Harrisburg, PA, last Friday night. The hoverboard battery was charging at the time of the explosion.  The girl fell from the second story of her home as she was trying to escape the blaze that was ravaging her apartment. Her two sisters suffered critical burn injuries and her dad as well as a teenage boy who was in the house at the time of the accident, were treated for smoke inhalation. Dennis Voe, a 21 year old  firefighter who was en route to the fire was struck by a car and died from his injury as well.

It is the first time that a hoverboard explosion is directly linked to a fatality. The accident prompted a federal investigation. Previously the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigated multiple cases of burn injuries related to defective hoverboards. So far investigations have led to the recall of approximately half a million hoverboards with defective battery packs. At least 8 models manufactured in China with defective lithium battery packs were part of the defective models recalled. Despite the many fires and injuries caused by exploding hoverboards many families still buy them and use them.

If you or your children own one of them, you can check the list of the hoverboards recalled by CPSC. However, please remember that owning a hoverboard that is not on the list is not a guarantee that the battery may not be prone to fire hazard.  Do not charge your hoverboard at night when you sleep but during the day in a location where you can keep an eye on it and where there is an extinguisher nearby.

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e-cigratteA defective e-cigarette battery exploded in the pocket of a man driving his car in New York City, seriously injuring him. 24 year old Ricardo Jiminez  suffered a large second-degree burn on his thigh and right hand after the e-cigarette exploded in his jeans pocket. At the time of the accident, Ricardo was driving his car. As he felt heat in his pocket he put his hand in his pocket to take the battery out. At the same time the battery exploded. Smoke invaded the car. Quickly Ricardo put the car in park, jumped out of it and removed his pants. As he was doing so a police officer saw him and called for an ambulance.

Another man was burned by a defective e-cigarette battery in New York around two weeks ago. The man was working at a wine store in Grand Central Station when the accident happened.

Recently, an increased number of people have been severely burned by exploding E-Cigarette batteries all around the world. The explosions are usually caused by poorly manufactured lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are used in many electronic consumer goods. While many e-cigarettes batteries are produced in China by little known manufacturers, the recent lithium battery explosion also affected large worldwide manufacturers. Recently Samsung had to recall and stop the sale of its latest cell phone after multiple reports of defective battery explosions.  Hover-boards batteries also have led to multiple explosions that sometimes led to the destruction of entire houses.

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samsung deviceDefective batteries in the Samsung Galaxy Note7 can potentially overheat and catch fire causing severe burns to users. On September 15 the smartphone manufacturer announced that it was recalling about 1 million Samsung Galaxy Note7 phones sold in the US and Canada before September 15th. The company received 92 reports indicating that the lithium battery was overheating. 26 people reported being burned and 55 others reported property damage including fires in cars and garages.  The recalled devices were sold in various colors and features a 5.7 inch screen. If you own one of these phones, please locate the IMEI number on the back of your phone. You can then go to the Samsung website to check if your phone is being recalled.

Read more about this recall on the CPSC website