A 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.
So far this year, one person died and 36 suffered personal injury in fires sparked by a defective lithium-ion battery in NYC
Last Friday, Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh sent a letter to the Consumer product Safety Commission to take action against manufacturers and seize imported batteries at the ports when they do not meet minimum industry standards. She also wants the feds to impose penalties on manufacturers that do not respect safety standards and make sure they pursue recalls of defective products. She also suggests to have more regulations in regards to lithium-ion batteries and for example ban the sale of “universal battery charger”.