Fatal New York House Fire Latest in Series of Blazes Caused by Batteries

January 23, 2023
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A Queens house fire that killed one person and injured 10 others was sparked by a lithium-ion battery, the fire department said Saturday. It adds to a series of battery blazes that have caused concern in the city.

The latest ripped through two floors of a home on 89th Street, a few blocks from LaGuardia Airport, around 11 p.m. Friday.

One occupant was pronounced dead at a hospital after being found on the home’s second floor, suffering from smoke inhalation, police said in a release. The fire department said 10 other people, including four firefighters, were taken to hospitals for treatment, at least seven of them with minor injuries.

Fire marshals later determined that a lithium-ion battery caused the blaze, the fire department tweeted Saturday.

Commercially available since the early 1990s, lithium-ion batteries are the familiar, rechargeable power source for many phones, laptop computers, vehicles and other devices. Fires can happen if the batteries are overcharged, overheated, defective or damaged.

Such batteries in electric bikes and scooters were linked to about 200 fires last year citywide. They included a blaze that killed a woman and a 5-year-old girl in East Harlem in August and a high-rise apartment-building fire that injured over three dozen people and spurred a dramatic rope rescue a few blocks from the United Nations headquarters in November.

The fire department has issued warnings and safety tips. The city administration has urged the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission to consider new regulations, and some city lawmakers have proposed legislation of their own.

Topics New York

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