Battery fire sparks warning

THE community is again being warned about the dangers of Lithium-ion batteries after an e-bike caught fire in an apartment early last Wednesday morning, causing the 10-storey building to be evacuated.

Four people were inside when the blaze broke out on the third level of the building on French Avenue, near Conway Road, around 6.30am, with one of them suffering a superficial burn to his hand when he attempted to move the e-bike as it was catching alight.
The building’s sprinkler systems activated, containing and largely extinguishing the fire prior to their arrival of firefighters.
The e-bike was plugged in and on-charge at the time of the fire.
FRNSW Acting Superintendent, Mathew Sigmund, said it was fortunate this situation didn’t have a worse outcome.
“Lithium-ion batteries that are compromised can go into a process known as thermal runaway, which can create toxic and flammable vapours, triggering an explosion or an otherwise life-threatening situation for those nearby,” Acting Superintendent Sigmund said.
“Firefighters recommend not leaving Lithium-ion batteries on charge once they have reached capacity, not to charge batteries near exits from buildings, on or near combustible surfaces, or while people are sleeping.”
FRNSW is reinforcing its public warnings about the dangers of such batteries when compromised, damaged or allowed to overheat.
FRNSW Commissioner, Jeremy Fewtrell, said the community must heed warnings about the potential for these batteries to explode in flames.
“These fires are extremely intense and volatile, even our firefighters find putting them out challenging because they burn so hot.
“It’s vital the public follows our safety advice around these batteries,” Commissioner Fewtrell said.