Firefighters warn of e-bike fire after shepherd bush fire


irefighters have issued an immediate fire warning for e-bikes following a fire in a high-rise block of flats in west London.

Residents were evacuated from Shepherd’s Bush’s Stabbing House in Queensdale Crescent on Tuesday morning when firefighters contained a fire in a 12th-floor apartment.

LFB fire investigators said the fire was accidental and was caused by a malfunction in the e-bike’s lithium-ion battery.

Lebanese Shakt, who lives in the flat, described how his friend, who had been living with him for several days, was charging the e-bike battery in the flat when he started smoking in the socket.

Firefighters in front of the Tower Block at Stabbing House in Shepherd’s Bush, London (PA) / PA Wire

The fire brigade has now issued an immediate warning, saying it has seen a dramatic increase in e-bike and e-scooter fires as their popularity continues to grow.

In 2022 alone, LBF said crews have already participated in 32 fires, including e-bikes and seven other e-scooters.

The brigade said 17 more fires broke out in other lithium-ion batteries.

Meanwhile, more than 100 fires, including lithium-ion batteries, broke out in the capital last year.

Charlie Pugsley, LBF’s assistant commissioner of fire safety, said: “It’s shocking that we’re seeing a steady rise in e-bike incidents.

A photo taken from ondLondonFire’s Twitter feed showing the damage caused by the fire inside the flat. (LBF) / PA Media

“When these batteries and chargers fail, they do so with the utmost brutality and because the fire spreads so fast that the situation can quickly become incredibly serious.

“These items are often stored in communal areas and corridors and can be the only way for people to escape.

“Another problem with fires in lithium-ion batteries, and what we saw in yesterday’s fire, is that when they fail, they expel their material over a large area which This can cause a number of fires in the room. “

LBF advises owners to avoid storing e-bikes or e-scooters in communal areas to avoid the risk of fire where the only escape route is blocked.

Signs of burns can be seen outside the flat after the fire (PA) / PA Wire

Mr Pugsley also warned of a “significant threat” to e-bikes that had been replaced.

“We are primarily seeing fires in online markets and batteries obtained on the Internet, which may not meet proper safety standards,” he said.

“Lithium-ion batteries fail if the wrong chargers are used.”

Consumers are advised to store and charge items in a safe place where possible, such as in a shed or garage, or to make sure there is a smoke detector, LBF said. And there is no barrier to the means of escape.

Mr Pugsley warned that “make sure they are charged in a room where smoke is detected and on a hard, flat surface.”

“We would also advise people not to try to charge them while they are asleep, so that they can react immediately if there is a problem.”

Owners are requested to obtain home-based fire safety advice through LBF’s free tool Home Fire Safety Checker.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council said it was considering strong measures to ban charging inside council residences and would look to the government to enable it to do so.

A spokesman said: “We are grateful to the emergency services for their swift response yesterday.

“We urge all residents to follow the advice of the London Fire Brigade when charging e-scooters and e-bikes at home.

“These batteries and chargers, which are often purchased randomly on the Internet, are extremely dangerous and pose an unacceptable risk to people.”

The Shepherds Bush fire was reported at 9:23 a.m. Tuesday and was contained by about 10.55 p.m.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) said eight fire engines and about 60 firefighters arrived at the scene, less than a mile from Greenfield Tower.

One person was taken to hospital and two were examined at the scene, the London Ambulance Service said.