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E-bike battery fire destroys inside of South Florida bike shop

Published April 19, 2022

CUTLER BAY, Fla. (BRAIN) — An e-bike battery charging unattended at a longtime South Florida bike shop caught fire and destroyed the interior and much of the inventory, but no injuries were reported.

Andante Bike Shop — located south of Miami at 20277 Old Cutler Rd. — was engulfed in flames shortly after closing on April 9. Mauricio Orozco, who has owned the shop for about 15 years, told BRAIN on Tuesday the fire started at about 6:15 p.m. after the shop closed at 5:30.

A spokesperson for the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department said Tuesday an incident report won't be available until Friday.

He said Andante Bike Shop carries a lot of e-bikes, but the bike in question, from a brand he did not identify, was new but about 2-years-old when the shops sold it in December. It was returned two days later because the battery wasn't charging. The shop learned a replacement battery was unavailable, so it sent the battery to a company in Nevada to be rebuilt. After receiving the battery back from Nevada, the shop left the battery charging overnight before the fire.

"The firefighters said all the cells in the battery blew up," Orozco said.

Orozco said the shop does not have fire insurance and has started a GoFundMe page that had raised $11,307 by Tuesday morning. He said he spoke with a fire investigator Monday who represents the insurance company that covers the small strip mall where the shop is located. Orozco said other businesses in the mall suffered smoke damage, and firefighters broke down the door of a neighboring business so they could enter the bike shop.

He said he's grateful for the outpouring of help from the community. "We've been around for a long time, and we've tried to help a lot of people," Orozco said.

Lithium-ion batteries, especially those spec'd on low-cost e-bikes,  can present a fire hazard and should never be charged unattended, e-bike experts say. Human Powered Solutions has published the Safe Lithium-Ion Battery Storage and Charging Procedures for the eBike Shop.

RELATED: Guest Editorial — Battery fires don't have to happen

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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