According to Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh, 13 New Yorkers have perished in lithium-ion battery fires in the past six months, with the most recent catastrophe killing four people in an early Tuesday conflagration that started in an e-bike repair shop in Chinatown.
• On January 20, 63-year-old Modesto Collado died after an e-bike battery caught fire inside a three-story home on 89th St. in East Elmhurst, according to FDNY officials and nearby residents. Ten additional people, including four firefighters, suffered injuries.
FDNY officials said the on-fire e-bike was adjacent to a stairwell leading to the first level when it started the fire. The ensuing conflagration was so intense that it destroyed the staircases leading to the first and second floors, causing them to fall when firefighters entered the structure.
Just nine months before the fire, HQ E-Bike Repair was cited for $1,600 worth of penalties for charging lithium-ion batteries. At the same time, they were stacked close to one another and plugged into extension cables, infractions that would surely start and spread a fire, according to FDNY officials.
Before the Washington Heights incident, information concerning one of the fatal ion-lithium battery fires was not immediately made public.
According to FDNY officials, the number of fatalities from ion-lithium fires had already surpassed last year’s total of six, when there were six fatalities.