A fire in a Bristol block of flats that resulted in a man’s death was started by a “homemade” e-bike. One resident said he had complained about a number of vehicles being stored on an upper floor but nothing had been done.
Shortly after 2.15am on Sunday morning, Avon Fire and Rescue were called to a fire in a flat on the top floor of Twinnell House on Wills Drive.
Eleven fire engines were sent along with two turntable ladders and other specialist vehicles. While the fire was said to have been quickly extinguished, one person died in the incident. He is believed to have fallen while trying to escape.
Dave Hodges, Avon Fire and Rescue Service Duty Group Commander, said: “On arrival crews were faced with a serious fire on the 16th floor and deployed crews wearing breathing apparatus to tackle the fire and assist residents.
“The upper floors have been damaged by smoke and fire, and water damage has affected many flats on lower floors.
“The fire has now been contained and fire crews remain in attendance making the scene safe. We are working with our partner agencies to support the local community during this difficult time. Our sincere condolences go to the friends and family of the deceased.”
Fire investigators at Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service identified the cause of the fire as accidental, due to an e-bike.
Ahmed Sharif, who lives on the third floor of the block with his family, told the BBC he had been warning the caretaker for months about “homemade e-bikes” that were being kept on the upper floors.
"Someone actually designed it poorly and most of them actually have a cheaper version of lithium ion batteries," he said.
Earlier this year, former leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron MP wrote to the government to request a public safety campaign focusing on the safe use of e-bike and e-scooter batteries and to emphasise they should only be purchased from reputable suppliers.
Co-signatory, Hina Bokhari, a member of the London Assembly’s fire, resilience and emergency planning committee, said: “Unless action is taken I fear that before long there will be a horrific fire in a home or block of flats involving the loss of lives.”
London Fire Brigade has repeatedly issued warnings about sourcing incorrect chargers online after reporting a spike in call-outs in recent times.