London Fire Brigade has issued a safety warning after a fire in Thornton Heath that is believed to have been caused by an overheated e-bike battery.
Inside Croydon reports that part of the ground floor of a mid-terrace on Beechwood Avenue was damaged by the fire on November 24. Two women and three men were assessed for smoke inhalation and a child was taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service crews as a precaution.
Fire investigators believe the fire was caused by an e-bike battery overheating after the bike was leant against a radiator.
The Fire Brigade has previously urged e-bike and e-scooter owners to use the correct chargers and to only buy recognised brands of battery from reputable sellers.
Commenting on the latest incident, a spokesperson said: "In this case, the e-bike was stored against a radiator in a hallway and involved a conversion kit fitted to a normal road bike.
"Conversion kits involve sourcing a battery separately and we have already issued a warning that many of the fires we are seeing involve batteries which have been sourced on the internet, which may not meet the correct safety standards.
“We know that lithium-ion batteries are susceptible to failure if incorrect chargers are used, so it’s important to always use the correct charger for the product and buy an official one from a reputable seller.
“Batteries can also pose a risk if they have been damaged, so try to ensure they are not getting knocked around while in use or while being carried as spares as this can increase the chance of damage to cells. You should also not expose them to extremes of temperature.
“You should always make sure you unplug your charger once it’s finished charging. Always follow manufacturers’ instructions when charging and we would advise not to leave it unattended or while people are asleep.”
After a fire in a flat above a shop in Tottenham in July – which drew four fire engines and around 25 firefighters – the Fire Brigade highlighted how e-bikes were often stored in escape routes or communal areas in homes.
In that instance bike owner Nihad Chemban and his flatmate resorted to leaping from a first-floor window to escape, landing on the canopy of the shop below and escaping uninjured.
Chemban had bought the battery online a few days before the fire, having never had any problems with the bike previously.
“People must be aware of these risks as you buy these batteries and you just don’t know if they are safe,” he said.
“You just never imagine you will have a fire. I didn’t expect it, but I’m just lucky it didn’t happen overnight and I was awake. If I had been asleep it could have been different. I would never charge my batteries overnight now.”