South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Check your battery plea by fire service after battery fire destroys Sheffield house

Firefighters are calling on e-bike users to check their batteries after a house fire almost ended in tragedy.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue attended a fire at a house on Ecclesall Road in Sheffield on Sunday morning which was caused by an e-bike battery.

Five fire engines were called at 11.30am on Sunday 28 April and found the ground floor to be alight on arrival. Three hose reels and one main jet were used to extinguish the fire.

Five people managed to evacuate but three people were taken to hospital after sustaining injuries after jumping out of the first floor window.

The fire was caused by a failure of a lithium ion battery in an e-bike which was on charge alongside with six other e-bikes within the living room.

The ferocity at which lithium ion batteries, used to power e-bikes and e-scooters, burn and explode caused the fire to engulf all three floors of the house.

Fires involving e-bikes and e-scooters are a growing risk for South Yorkshire as 15 fires involving lithium ion batteries were recorded in 2023, almost double the number that occurred in 2022.

In March this year, a fire involving an e-bike and e-scooter caused significant damage to a house on Tawny Street, Barnsley whilst in May last year two men were lucky to escape with their lives after a fire involving multiple lithium ion batteries in a house in Sharrow Street, Sheffield.

That is why the service has today shared this story to launch its Charge Happy campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the fire risk posed by lithium ion batteries.

Ade Parkin, Group Manager at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said: “The people involved in these incidents are lucky to have escaped without serious injury.

“We know that e bikes and e scooters are growing in popularity and can be really beneficial in opening up cycling to people of all fitness levels, not to mention the obvious environmental benefits they bring in terms of reduced carbon emissions compared to other means of transport.

“That is why it is so important to only buy bikes from reputable supplier that show clearly that they meet UK/EU safety laws and only use the charger supplied with the battery.

“We’d also encourage owners of e bikes to think carefully about where you charge your vehicle and not block any escape routes.”

Safety tips for e-bike and e-scooter users

  • Never block your escape route with anything, including e-bikes and e-scooters. Store them somewhere away from a main through route. Our advice is to store these items in a safe external location if possible, such as a garage or a shed.
  • Always use the correct charger, otherwise the risk of fire increases, and buy an official one from a reputable seller.
  • Do not attempt to modify or tamper with your battery. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Converting pedal bikes into e-bikes using DIY kits bought online can be very dangerous. They can pose a higher risk of fire. Get a professional or competent person to carry out the conversion and make sure to buy a battery from a reputable seller and that it is not second-hand.
  • Check your battery and charger meets UK safety standards.  We have particular concern where batteries have been purchased from online marketplaces and when they’ve been sourced on the internet, which may not meet the correct safety standards.  Consumers buying any product can check that the item displays a UKCA or CE mark that ensures that the products meet UK and EU safety, health or environmental requirements. If buying online, buy from a UK supplier.

Watch out for signs that the battery or charger aren’t working as they should – e.g. if the battery is hot to the touch or has changed shape.

This content was last updated on April 29th, 2024