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FDNY: New York Fire Department links more deaths to lithium-ion battery fires

Published June 5, 2023
2023 deaths have already surpassed last year's.

NEW YORK (BRAIN) — More people in New York City have died so far this year because of lithium-ion battery fires than all of last year, according to recently released Fire Department of New York statistics.

Entering June, according to FDNY data, there were nine deaths, and 64 injuries attributed to fires sparked by lithium-ion batteries. So far, 65 structural and 32 non-structural fires and 97 investigations into lithium-ion battery fires have occurred.

“So we have six more months ahead of us,” Jim Long of the FDNY Press Office told BRAIN on Monday afternoon. “That's an alarming trend. We understand that these e-batteries for the micromobility devices are used for commerce, hobby, and recreation, and also for commuting. We just asked the people to do it safely.”

According to the New York Post, four died last month in an Upper Manhattan apartment fire sparked by a lithium-ion battery. For all of 2022 in New York City, there were six deaths and 147 injuries reported, along with 162 structural and 58 non-structural fires and 220 investigations into lithium-ion battery fires.

At this time last year, two deaths and 37 injuries were reported. In 2021 and 2022 combined, 10 people died in lithium-ion battery fires.

In March, Mayor Eric Adams signed a lithium-ion battery safety legislative package that will become law in the fall that will include prohibiting the sale of e-bikes, other powered mobility devices like e-scooters, and batteries that don't meet recognized certification like UL. 

In April, the City Council introduced two additional bills, including one to amend the administrative city code to establish a program to provide reduced- or no-cost lithium-ion batteries. The other would amend the administrative city code to require businesses using e-bikes for commercial purposes to provide workers with fireproof or fire-resistant containers to charge and store removable batteries.

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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